Sentimental Zone

The inspiration for one of La Huy’s pieces was a pregnant woman running across the street. Not wishing to merely imitate reality, the artist created a still figure illuminated from the rounded core by a soft light in order to convey the vulnerability, fragility, and excitement he felt in that moment. (Jia H. Jung)


Emotions guide La Huy’s work, and he declares that the scent of melting wax ferries him away from daily realties. His works of wax-glazed newspaper are quite literal representations of his goal to transform the mundane into the emotive and profound. (Jia H. Jung)

ChaoArt | ArtChao

Cháo/Art is an intriguing event created by Cam Xanh, co-founder of Post Vidai Collection, MoT+++ and A. Farm. The gathering unfolds in a magical space where a group of artists (including Cam Xanh herself along with fellow artists, writers  and curators) cook and serve plain cháo, the most basic type of Vietnamese rice porridge, to customers, guests of honors, tourists, neighbors, voyeurs, vagabonds, as well as those unable to pay at all. Cam Xanh not only capitalises on this new surge of public interest in “detox” diets but notices another function of cháo in Vietnamese society: its  healing power. Cháo has always  been the  go-to nourishment for the impoverished during extreme famines as well as the ill or injured during recovery periods. Often served in familial or communal settings, cháo strengthens the body and reinvigorates the spirit despite its unadorned nature.

On the other hand, we are not obliged to read Cam Xanh’s happening as a grand metaphor for class struggles or the state of the arts and humanities in a rapidly industrializing country. Imagine walking by an open space in which unlikely cooks calmly stir huge pots of boiling porridge and sit among piles of ceramic bowls, ready to serve hungry, curious  and/or amused customers who might or might not pay, but are willing to help and play along. Whether you belong to the category of those saturated with means or the starving-artist type, come for some Cháo/Art, whichever feels necessary.

The Cerumen Strata

In 2013, a group of scientists published a detailed account of their attempt to reconstruct a lifetime chemical profile of an individual blue whale through examining its cerumen, or what we commonly call earwax. It was discovered that the lipophilic compounds preserved in the earwax can reveal not only the biogenic physiological changes in the whale, but also the anthropogenic contaminants it was exposed to throughout its life. In blue whales, earwax accumulates continuously from birth and forms alternating dark and light layers cor- related to periods of feeding or migration. This enables scientists to estimate the age of the whale in a manner that greatly resembles dendrochronology, the science of dating based on counting growth rings in trees. Like tree rings, which not only reveal to us the age of the tree, but also changes in climatic conditions during its lifetime, the chemical profiles uncovered by analysis of the whale’s ear- wax display a much more complex picture in which changes brought about by internal hormonal fluctuations intermingle with those induced by human activities. (Le Vi & R. Streitmatter-Tran. The Cerumen Strata as published in Art in the Anthropocene. Edited by Etienne Turpin and Heather Davis. London: Open Humanities Press, 2015.)

Totem Tower

In Vietnam, people tend to impute strange-shaped objects such as soil, tree roots, or fruits to holy supernatural power and then preserve them as blessed items to pray. Hence Totem Tower is a sculptural work but it is also an act by Truong Cong Tung performing his ‘magical’ illusion to transform the mediocre into something seemingly sacred and treasurable, here namely a piece of soil and hundreds of cicada bodies. Both the soil of termite nest and the cicadas are entities lying deeply and then arising from the ground, represent the magical strength of the nature – that the people believe in animist power of non-human world over human beings.

AK-47 vs M-16

AK-47 vs. M16 creates a spectacular visual effect, like a scene of the future, when one can clearly see the two bullets that collide and break through in a gel block. In fact, all elements of that scene are objects and symbols of the past and the present. They are special gel sampling our flesh used to test the damage in ballistics, two bullets fired from two legendary rifles AK 47, invented by the Soviet army, and M16, by US Army. The work is a profound epitome of ‘confrontation’: between two bullets, between two design mindsets of rifle, between the two armies escalating the Cold War weaponry, between the two front lines using these two guns during the Vietnam War. The stunning physical presence of AK 47 vs. M16 seemingly leads the viewers into a mythic world of history. Yet after all, this lightning moment of two single fire lines slowed down and frozen forever realizes the horrifying scale of wartime and political violence throughout 20th century history.

Emotion Refuge

The main thread of the [work] is the idea of migration and the routes and halts until a destination is reached. The main piece is again a sculpture. The fabric the sculpture is dressed in comes from Indonesia and it references the pattern of the so-called refugee bag. There is a closeness and concomitantly a distance between the viewer and the sculpture which is exposed but at the same time sheltered by the walls around it. One can assume that this sensation is similar in the initial relationships immigrants experience in a foreign country.