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Nguyen Van Cuong

Nguyen Van Cuong (b. 1972, Vietnam) graduated from the Vietnam University of Fine Arts in 1996, and is considered one of Vietnam’s most respected contemporary artists. Growing up and making art during the transitional period in which Vietnam transformed itself from a subsided system to a socialist led market economy, much of Cuong’s practice critically and satirically reflects and comments on the country’s social and political changes. One of the common threads running through his practice is the idea of a degrading society full of “cultural pollutions”. His works are often bristling with aggressive symbols of the new capitalist and consumerist Vietnam – such as Benjamin Franklin’s head on the 100US$ bill, karaoke machines, computers, prostitutes etc. “We need to make critical art for our changing society. We need to make necessary art,” as Cuong once famously stated. As the complete opposite of what is traditionally considered “fine art” in Vietnam, Cuong’s art is brutal, honest and deals with the abject.

Studio visit with Nguyen Van Cuong

This video is part of a series of interviews with artists in the Nguyen Art Foundation collection