Talk with Le Thuan Uyen

August 2022

‘Diem Phung Thi and the Metamorphosis of Signs’

In the previous discussion, as part of our public program series for ‘Illuminated Curiosities’, Andrew Yang shed light on practices that are at the intersection of art and science. That said, the convergence of the two disciplines is not always visible as scientific knowledge can take a much more subtle form of influence. Much like other artists featured in the current exhibition, whose visual presentation may not reveal a direct link to science, Diem Phung Thi’s art-making methodology registers a logic en par with scientific processes.Known as one of the most important sculptors of Vietnam, Diem Phung Thi (b. 1920, Vietnam; d. 2002, Vietnam) started making art in Paris at the age of 39 after abandoning a career in dentistry. She is renowned for her radical yet minimal seven modules system – dubbed as seven characters, seven musical notes, or seven signs – which enabled countless possibilities of form. To what extent has her former training and practice influenced, or perhaps informed Diem Phung Thi’s artistic articulations? Our lecturer, Le Thuan Uyen, will present a preliminary account of Diem Phung Thi’s journey into the arts and how science, particularly her former practice, might have played a role in her art. Uyen will also expand on the complex relationship between art and science in the mid-twentieth century in Europe, where Diem Phung Thi began her artistic endeavour.

This is the inaugural event of public and educational programs in association with Nguyen Art Foundation’s exhibition ‘Illuminated Curiosities’.