Vietnam: The Making of the Modern and the Contemporary

When Sat, 13 May 2017, 10am
Where A Space, Asia Art Archive, 10/F Hollywood Centre, 233 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan
Language English

Talk by AAA Researcher Chương-Đài Võ for Teaching Labs.

How does art help us understand colonialist and nationalist ideas about race, class, and gender? What is the difference between work in a gallery and in a metal workshop? As part of their mission civilisatrice in Indochina (present-day Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos), French colonial administrators created and cemented distinctions between “craft” and “fine art.” These early twentieth-century definitions set up a hierarchy of aesthetic values and practices underpinned by Orientalist assumptions that denigrated “the local” and celebrated “the Western.” Artists and intellectuals vigorously debated the purpose of their work as they sought to define their relationship to colonial rule, and later to the post-1954 nations of South Vietnam and North Vietnam. We will look at how art developed in the southern and northern regions of the country, and how artists have appropriated and reimagined local and foreign materials, styles, and practices.

Part of Teaching Labs: Contemporary Context series that explores contemporary art through multiple histories and cultural perspectives, this talk unpacks and examines what we now call modern and contemporary art in Vietnam.

The talk includes a summary outline and extended reading list. A free book giveaway session for educators will be held at AAA Library after the talk.

Target: Teachers from all disciplines are welcome. The talk is also open to students and the public. No prior knowledge of art is required.
Fee: Free

To request written proof of the programme for approval from your school, please contact us via or 2844 1121. A certificate will also be given upon request pending full attendance of the talk.

Chương-Đài Võ is a Researcher at Asia Art Archive. She specialises in modern and contemporary art related to South East Asia. She is a former Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and has received fellowships and grants from Asian Cultural Council, Fulbright Program, National Endowment for the Humanities, and University of California Pacific Rim Research Program. Her curatorial work has been sponsored by apexart, Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs, and the Boston-area New Art Center. She has a PhD from University of California, San Diego, and a BA from Johns Hopkins University.

Teaching Labs is an annual professional development series that seeks to build a supportive learning community in partnership with Hong Kong schools and educators. By sharing online resource materials that can be incorporated into the classroom, AAA researchers aim to enrich teachers’ knowledge of contemporary art ecologies.

Learning & Participation Programme Sponsor:

Image: Trần Lương, Cọc Cạch [The Sound of Metal] , 2013 onwards, durational performance at various sites. Courtesy of the artist.
Image: Trần Lương, Cọc Cạch [The Sound of Metal] , 2013 onwards, durational performance at various sites. Courtesy of the artist.
Image: Nguyễn Gia Trí, Phong Cảnh [Landscape], 1939, lacquer, 160 x 400 cm.
Image: Trần Văn Cẩn, Em Thúy [Little Thuy], 1943, oil on canvas, 43 x 54 cm.
Image: Nguyên Khai, Railway Worker, Oil on canvas, 1978.
Image: Nguyễn Lam, Abstract, lacquer on canvas, 2005.
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