1993: Group exhibition in Natash Salon-Hanoi, Vietnam.
1996: Exhibition with an Australian woman artist, 29 Hang Bai, Hanoi.
1997: Group exhibition at the Hanoi Fine Art Institute-Alliance Francaise Group exhibition “Spring meeting 1+3”, Nam Son Gallery, Hanoi
1997: 1998/1999/2000 “Vietnam- ASEAN Fine Art Award” exhibitions Solo exhibition, Gallery L’Atelier, Hanoi
1998: Art exhibition Fair, Australia Solo exhibition, Paris, France
1999: Solo exhibition, Gallery L’Atelier, Hanoi Solo exhibition, The New Factory Gallery, Hanoi
2000: Solo exhibition, Gallery L’Atelier, Hanoi Group exhibition “Hanoi’s, Gallery 43 Trang Tien (CEAE)
2001: Group exhibition in Contemporary Art Centre-Hanoi, Vietnam Group exhibition with young artists-Hanoi Group exhibition in Thavibu-Bangkok, Thailand
2002: “Abstract view”, Nam Son Art Gallery-Hanoi “Hanoi Autumn”, Nam Son Art Gallery-Hanoi “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year”, Nam Son Art Gallery-Hanoi
2003: “Space-street”, Nam Son Art Gallery-Hanoi Solo exhibition in Hanoi
2004: Group exhibition in Hanoi Group exhibition in Beijing, China
2005: Group exhibition in Tokyo, Japan
2006: Solo exhibition, Young Gallery in Hanoi Solo exhibition, UNDP office in Hanoi Group exhibition, Young Gallery in Hanoi
2007: Group exhibition, Maison des Art, Hanoi Group show with sidercar, L’espas, Hanoi 3.1.08 Solo exhibition, Maison des Art, Hanoi
1997 Prize of the Vietnam Fine Art Association
My friend, artist N., once said: “Making art is a God-damned kind of work.” To which I objected:” God has nothing to do with that. You’re damning yourself, rather.” Our argument got to mpwhere but this one conclusion: whether God-damned or self-damned, art makes it possible for us to survive.
No matter you are writer, poet, singer or painter. Specializing in abstract painting at the very outset like Tran Nhat Thang, is two-fold damned. Abstract prides itself on such celebrated names sa Hans Hartung (1904-1987), Zao Wu-ki(1921-) etc… The entrance into this temple gets narrower and narrower. This doesn’t prevent Thang from barging in. He must have begun with a right starting point, I think. He doesn’t make the realist world abstract, or, in other words, he refuses to look at realities with an abstract eye. Not that mountains and rivers and lakes can be painted in an abstract manner.
Tran Nhat Thang only paints his feekings, his heart; his soul-he scrutinizes his inner self to this effect. Such things cannot be expressde in any other xay but abstraction. For instance: vagueness, emptiness, mixed feelings (half-joyous half-sad or half-resenting half-loving), disgust, nausea, vapidity, shame… You’d think there’s intervention of external elements, but on further reflection, you’d end up realising that the essential is yourself, your own Heart. It turns out that Tran Nhat Thang mainly paints himself. Using abstract language to express abstract feelings is just natural, therefore you wouldn’t see any strained effort in Thang’s paintings. They just are like that and that’s that.
Feelings are transient, fleeting, evanescent and filled with precarious contigencies. Just so, with neither beginning nor end, quite in order of things: won – lost, intact – broken, tense – relaxed, moving –static, miseries- felicity…everything is subject to contingenies.
To express those transient feelings, Tran Nhat Thang chooses minimal abstraction. The brush runs over the surface pf canvas, only once without retracing any lines, tout ou rien, in the everybody-is-given-to-live-just-once spirit. Never repeat whatever you’ve done your living, your love, your words, your laughter…Such brushstrokes need intuition more than rationale. It’s enlightenment, rather than conscious realisation. In composition, emphasis is put on major masses, major directions. The palette is rather monochrome. The forms (in fact, non-figurative) are casual assemblaces of strokes, fleeting, swishing violently, with neither start nor ending, on a dry or moist, or half-fry half-moisti background, thus creating an effect of stumbling, skipping, blurring, spilling, clairobscur, fuguitive… sensations. Sometimes, there would be a copious spinkling with one or several brushes, once or several times, in overlapping, thick or thin layers. In opposition to those chaotic features, are large masses imvued with quietude, emptiness, immensity, infiniteness, bewilderment. That is this kkind of profungity/superficiality, light/darkness, day/night, hullabaloo/loneliness…opposition, which is actually the physiognomy of this human world.
So much so is attractive enough and more or less particular
To be an artist is being there… not to win. Unless to lose, even lose everything in most cases, against one’s will. To make art is getting opportunities to do creative work. That’s that. This includes both start and ending. How can you tell what you’ve ashieved and acquired?