Nguyen Minh Thanh




Watercolour on handmade paper

70 x 53 cm

These early paintings on handmade dzo paper by Nguyen Minh Thanh speak to the artist’s dominant theme: portraiture. Long known in the art community for his thoughtful, introspective musings of the self, Thanh intuitively uses his body as the model for the “everyday man”, painting and placing various characters in the midst of imaginary sceneries that juxtapose elements of traditional and modern Vietnamese life. The artist continually returns to his early recollections, weaving in unexpected visuals that symbolize a childhood spent in the countryside – a bird cage, a rice basket, flowers, traditional dresses etc. Considering his portrait works as part of a “historical process of physical and mental evolution”, Thanh paints himself in the physical bodies of others, in an attempt to search for the true meaning of existence. Whether male or female, as a businessman, a little boy or the artist’s own mother, Thanh’s essence seeps deeply into the visualization of his subjects, gently blurring boundaries of genders and classes, where past, present and future merge into one in a timeless manner.