Vu Dan Tan

Vu Dan Tan is one of the most important artists in the contemporary Vietnamese art scene. He was a self-taught artist, born to a playwright in Hanoi in 1946, where he started his career working in the cartoon film studios of Hanoi Television. He worked in this area while travelling in Russia and Cuba, where he subsequently learnt to paint. In 1990, together with his wife Natalia Kraevskaia, Tan founded Salon Natasha, the first private gallery in Hanoi. During the early ‘90s, Salon Natasha was the only independent exhibition space free from governmental control and open to both art professionals and the public. The gallery has played a central role in supporting well-known and emerging artists alike, as well as in introducing art, very often of an experimental and non-commercial nature, to the public. Tan was known for his unique and intriguing artistry of applying recycled and abandoned everyday materials to his works, such as carton boxes or discarded candy packets, which seems to have something in common with child’s play and reflects his innocent and fanciful imagination. Tan’s work varied in scale and medium, from collages of cigarette packets which he cut and painted, to life size temple and boat installations made from appliance boxes. His work has been widely exhibited and collected in countries such as France, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Finland, Japan, USA, Singapore and Vietnam. (Asia Art Archive)