Thirty lacquer paintings by Vietnamese-German artist Khai Doan are on display in an exhibition entitled Dipolar at the Goethe Institute, 56-58 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Hanoi.
Not lacking talent: Paint And Sand, one among 30 lacquer paintings by Vietnamese-German artist Khai Doan. — VNS Photo Doan Tung
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Dr Almuth Meyer-Zollitsch, director of the Goethe Institute, said that defining and analysing gravity between two contrary poles has been Doan's passion.
"It is not by chance that he has chosen a lacquer technique which is supposed to express the best of Vietnamese arts. Paint and sand with advertising is a great contrast. You should walk around and view his paintings. Perhaps you will discover the two poles in yourself," she introduced.
Born in HCM City and growing up in Germany, Doan now works as a creative director in the advertising industry.
His art reflects the productive tension between different poles: an ambivalent mixture of Vietnamese tradition and today's globalisation. This 39-year-old painter combines contrasts: near and far, young and old, the intimate and strange, concrete and abstract.
While the "young and old" contrast is described through Familiar and Foreign triptych of three generations in his family, The World-Apart and Together paintings portray the "near and far" contrast with images of a world map, which are connected after being separated, forming a shape like a brain.
"After many years of research, I recognise that this material – lacquer is very unique. I have combined German ideas with Vietnamese material. All the paintings here reflect that combination."
"We can use world map paintings as an example. You see that I show a map made from squares. Each square symbolises pixels. Everyday you check your emails or turn on the television, you see pixels. I used this unique technique to bring to the viewers a view of our modern world today," he explained.
The exhibition, which opened European Days in Vietnam, runs until June 5.