The art of photography handled with delicacy and talent by Dat Vu opens its doors to us through the exhibition “Muted Conversations” at the Factory, the center of contemporary art in Ho Chi Minh. This exhibition is the first in the series of ‘Materialize’, a program that aims to provide exhibition opportunities for Vietnamese artists who have had little chance to create exhibitions of their art in Vietnam. Travel between rites and practices, from spirituality to religion in Vietnam, you can still enjoy this series of photographs until September 17th.
Between modernity and tradition
Her father’s side being Catholic and her mother’s being Buddhist, she approaches this subject with all its nuances and perspectives without claiming a religion. Her photographs testify to the evolution of those practices and how religion adapts to today’s societal norms and contemporary movements. Thus, the artist captures daily scenes of the country that show these rites as integral but unconscious parts of their lives. This gives touching photographs, which can make us smile and symbolize this famous “Muted Conversations” between an environment that modernizes cohabiting with the practice of the spirituality of this country. The photo of online players in a cyber space below an altar dedicated to ancestors or that one of the cat making use of the offerings to hydrate himself are artistic examples.
Between emptiness and omniscience
Without ostentatious signs of a religious practice, we are also faced with works staged and full of opposition. Indeed, she manages to create through this art, a magnificent oxymoron: the presence of the vacuum. The picture of the suspended waterproof mantle highlights the shape of an uninhabited body in the void while the contortionary stair occupies the space.
A visual language blurring the distinction between documentation and imagination while integrating the aestheticism of the image. Inspired by the book “Evidence” by Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel, this compilation of photographs led her to mount her images, to direct the function and the meaning without giving more information on the context of these. The photo becomes existing within the exhibition at this precise moment, fallen from any old context of taking. The layout of non-aligned works in space is also intriguing because it removes an order to be followed, a step and thus adapts itself to the theme of spirituality.
After the exhibition finishes editing all her material, the artist plans perhaps work on producing a book. Meanwhile, the exhibition « Muted Conversations » at the Factory allows her to get feedback from a Vietnamese audience by inviting them to approach the experience of photography in a different but very familiar way. She also asks them to question her photographs and engage their own meaning based on their personal experience.