A big congratulations to the three artists who participate in ‘Materialize’ in 2017! In August we have Đạt Vũ (Ho Chi Minh City), a young photographer re-exploring his country’s deep-rooted relationship with spirituality and superstition. In September we have Hoàng Thanh Vĩnh Phong (Hoi An), a senior artist working across multiple media and ideas, with exquisite techniques and a sharp conceptual approach. In November we have Lê Thế Lãm (Ho Chi Minh City), a painter re-working the formal characteristics of one of art’s oldest languages to ponder on the meaning of life and existence. See below for brief introduction and follow the links for more!


The exhibition ‘Remnant’ brings us into Lê Thế Lãm’s own world, where lies the sorrow and anxiety of living in Vietnam after the post-war period. The displayed paintings depict different states of a ‘silent death’, situated within various simulated spaces. In addition to his dark palette, Lãm presents a combination of sculptural forms where particular light effects render the ambience in his paintings walled and claustrophobic. In his imagery, the presence of closed coffins and lingering shadow-like humans are constant. Unlike war, famine, or disease epidemic…, Lãm is curious about psychological reasons that cause death beyond a biological decay. People neither stop breathing nor decompose. They just seem stuck and slowly withering away in a seemingly vast but actually constrictive life, laden with material burden in a silent spiritual destruction where society grows too fast as the soul becomes impoverished.


Paradise Lost’ by Hoàng Thanh Vĩnh Phong (b. 1971) invites us into a world where the familiar is made strange, the mundane mythologised and the symbolic re-arranged. Through the shifting of shape and twisting of material, images and objects from the everyday are taken out of context, heightened with a sense of ambiguity, asking us to look beyond what our first glance has to offer.


Muted Conversations’ is an ongoing project by Đạt Vũ (b. 1991) that explores the spirituality and superstitions surrounding rituals in Vietnam today. His photographic series includes both staged and candid images taken during his extensive travels across the country. These images reveal how Vietnamese people, across diverse regions, perform rites and rituals in sacred spaces and in daily life; these photographs hinting at the subliminal differences between rural and urban life; between public and private space; between understanding ourselves as observers, voyeurs or provocateurs.