Ha Manh Thang
The expansive artistic practice of Ha Manh Thang (b. 1980, Vietnam) has evolved from studies of Vietnam’s cultural and social history to meditative observations of existence, journeying from symbolism and spirituality to the eventual nihilism of nothingness: where nature and physical objects find their ultimate beginning. In his earlier works, bright and imposing colors share a canvas with elements of pop-art to reflect changing attitudes in present-day Vietnam, but also to forewarn the chaos of consumerism and capitalism. The musicality of his brushstrokes, informed by an interest in jazz and classical East Asian poetry, is carried over to later works where he contemplates the passage of time. These canvases, rendered in heavy impasto, almost transmute paint media into earthly materials like mud or soil, wood or stone. As viewers gaze into the rough textures of his artworks, they are transported to a moment in time: in midsummer, under spring rain, or leaving behind the fading winter.
Ha Manh Thang has been featured alongside acclaimed artists such as Gerhard Richter, Marlene Dumas and Peter Doig in several international publications, including Painting Now (Thames and Hudson, 2015) and Painting Today (Phaidon, 2009). Having graduated from the Hanoi Fine Arts University in 2004, Thang has held a number of notable regional and international exhibitions, including The Reflection, Galerie Quynh, HCMC, Vietnam, 2021; BEYOND, Affinity Art, Geneva, Switzerland, 2020; Light and Colours: Art of Vietnam, Singapore & Malaysia, ION Art Gallery, Orchard Turn, Singapore, 2018; Passage of Time, Affinity Art, Hong Kong; Fading Dreams – Disintegrating Realities, Thavibu Gallery, Bangkok, Thailand, 2014; Instruments of Meditation: Works of Art from the Zoltán Bodnár Collection, Reök Palace, Budapest, Hungary; Ha Manh Thang and Le Quy Tong in the Bodnár Collection, NextArt Galéria, Budapest, Hungary, 2010; Connect: Kunstzene Vietnam, ifa Galleries, Berlin and Stuttgart, 2009; Post Doi Moi: Vietnamese Art After 1990, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore, 2008; and The rain and the small stream, presented by Ernst & Young Asean Art Outreach program, Singapore, 2008.
Studio visit with Ha Manh Thang
This video is part of a series of interviews with artists in the Nguyen Art Foundation collection