From June 28 to July 27, the exhibition titled “A Transformative Disguise” by Le Hoang Bich Phuong will be held at the Japan Foundation Center for Culture Exchange at 27 Quang Trung, Hanoi.
‘Transformative Disguise’ is Phuong’s first solo exhibition. Composed of nine new paintings and five ceramic sculptures, this exhibition plays with ideas of reflection, transparency and transformation, inviting the viewer to contemplate their own awareness of their behavior and actions, to question what kinds of attitudes they wear as masks to cope in everyday life.
In the world of Le Hoang Bich Phuong, the wearing of costume, particularly the mask, enters her urban everyday, where portraits of herself, friends and strangers – both real and imagined – morph with the traits of various cultural animal stereotypes.
In her art, friends cheat on lovers; insecure others seek the identity of fame; and her own childhood dreams of life conflict with her present reality. With this intimate knowledge Phuong creates her own mythology, with watercolor on silk and glaze on ceramic, casting a set of personal heroes that merge human with the beast.
Phuong is a young master of watercolor. Trained in the art of oil painting and compelled by the symbolic narrative of the Japanese tradition of ukiyo-e, Phuong’s compositions gracefully employ the subtle boldness of line and color gradation found in silk masterpieces by Nguyen Phan Chanh, and the humorous frivolity of Utagawa.
Phuong’s characters float on raw silk, her near ethereal use of color giving the sense that these are ghostly figures of questionable earthly substance, the eyes, hands, mouth and ears of each figure deliberately pronounced in more intense hue and gesture.
This exhibition plays with ideas of reflection, transparency and transformation, inviting the viewer to contemplate their own awareness of their behavior and actions, to question what kinds of attitudes they wear as masks to cope in everyday life.
A graduate of the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts University, Le Hoang Bich Phuong was awarded an artist-in-residence in Sapporo, Japan, as part of the ‘JENESYS Program: Invitation Program for Creators’ of the Japan Foundation in 2011 and that same year was also one of the finalists for the DOGMA Art Prize in self-portraiture. In 2010 she was finalist in the ‘Talent Prize’ of the Cultural Development and Exchange Fund.
Some paintings by Phuong:
‘Man I have met
A Red Nose