Vietnamese performance art – new research underway

VIETNAMESE PERFORMANCE ART

 

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Performance art is regarded as one of the more esoteric branches of contemporary art and Vietnamese art is decidedly off the beaten track. But perhaps that is why Nora A. Taylor, a familiar name in Vietnamese art circles for nearly 20 years, believes a combination of the two merits deeper study. 

Taylor is professor of Southeast Asian art at a school of the Chicago Art Institute and is using her one-month summer vacation in Vietnam to research performance art in the country.

A performance by Dao Anh Khanh

A performance by Dao Anh Khanh

In this extract from her interview with VietnamNet she describes how performance art is perceived differently in Vietnam and names some of her favourite Vietnamese performance artists.

Q: What is your definition of performance art?

Taylor: It is the art of using the bodies of artists as the tools of performance. Sometimes it is called body art or live art. But in Vietnam, performance art is understood more broadly. It comprises all kinds of performances, from the use of artists’ bodies as pillars to large-scale performances with dancers, music and light.

Q: Could you tell us about your research of performance art in Vietnam? 

Taylor: I’m interested in performances of individual artists, who use very simple tools or irreducible things, which is closer to live art rather than works with large backgrounds like Dao Anh Khanh performs.

I’m also interested in experimental performances, artworks and music works that challenge traditional arts and artworks which are a process, which means that final works are not the final goal.

Performance art has a close connection to the idea about the process of an artwork, and that is why I’m interested in this art.

Q: Which Vietnamese artists are you paying attention to?

 Taylor: I always admire Ly Hoang Ly. Her performances are always strong. Recently, I’ve become a fan of Nguyen Huy An and his works with dirty materials and graphite. Both of them use some materials besides their bodies but their works are rich in imagination, directness and humanity.

Read more at VietnamNet .

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