The art programme “Sinh” (Birth) of artist Nguyen Van Tien”

… After a long pause, Saigon Open City will be reinitiated as an “open space” for contemporary art shows. It is a non-profit space where knowledge, points of view and creativity in fine arts convene and exchange.
The working programme OF and WITH artist Nguyễn Văn Tiến will open the series. Nguyễn Văn Tiến will construct a conceptual space in his own symbolic language, and the ‘viewers’ will participate to improvise and build this very conceptual space and its symbols. According to Nguyễn Văn Tiến, this piece could be considered “pro-relationship”, with the intention of reviving creative energy in an atmosphere of exchanges and dialogues.

As many know, Nguyễn Văn Tiến was one of the two artists in the “Văn Miếu event” (Temple of Literature happening) in Ha Noi in 1997. This event has caused a wave of public opinion among the Vietnamese artist community, and left a host of problems that until now – or for a very long time – still require further investigation and discussion.

After the “Văn Miếu event”, artist Nguyễn Văn Tiến relocated his home to Ho Chi Minh City. Silent for a time, Nguyễn Văn Tiến returned in 2001 with the exhibition “Tôi ơi!” (Hey, me!) in the Bich Cau Gallery of the Labour Culture Palace of Ho Chi Minh City. The exhibition caused a shock to the audience with its “unusual shabbiness”. Which, in itself, is food for thought.

After this exhibition, Nguyễn Văn Tiến again disappeared without a trace for a long time. Some people said he’d retired. But others said this silence of Nguyễn Văn Tiến was “also an act of art”.
The sudden return of Nguyễn Văn Tiến as a participant in the series “Construction waste II – The birth of Venus” – a cooperative artistic creation of the “Ferro-concrete drilling and cutting” group on the evening of October 24th 2012, in a temporary hut amid the slums of Bình Triệu District, Ho Chi Minh City – also caused much controversy. This was a Nguyễn Văn Tiến still prickly over some issues in contemporary art. But this exhibition was like a surgical operation, reaching almost “ruthlessly” within the self, within one’s own conceptions of art and life.

Next, on the evening of January 23rd 2012, in the same slum hut in Bình Triệu, Nguyễn Văn Tiến displayed the performance art exhibition “The red thread”. This was a cooperative piece resulting from the participation of the “Ferro-concrete drilling and cutting” group, and the musical accompaniment of KRIST-K, a Hungarian audio artist. The domestic press remained almost completely silent at this seemingly simple artwork, but its impact has lingered among the artist community until now.

In general, it is very difficult to classify Nguyễn Văn Tiến’s art conceptions and forms into any existing art school. This problem forces us to go on examining and discovering the artist’s character. This is why Saigon Open City decided to begin its new initiative with “Sinh” (Birth) by Nguyễn Văn Tiến.

The art programme “Sinh” (Birth) of artist Nguyen Van Tien is supported by the Goethe Institute HCMC.

Saigon Open City