An assignment on Memory – The art of Dinh Q. Lê

Read ‘The Mosquito Net of Memories and Memorials’ here

Text by Carmen Cortizas Fontan | Graphic design by Tram Nguyen
This essay collection is available in English only

An assignment on Memory – The art of Dinh Q. Lê

‘An assignment on Memory’ is a collection of essays on the life and work of Vietnamese artists from different generations, written by 17-year-old Carmen Cortizas Fontan, who was born and raised in Hanoi by Spanish parents. Having spent her life in an environment full of unconventional creativity and experimentation, that is, the Hanoi contemporary art scene, Carmen grew up surrounded by artists. With her words, she gracefully embraces the intricacies of human relationships, not only by visiting artists’ studios and exhibitions, but also by having tea with them, chit-chatting for hours on end, listening to their life stories, or sometimes just sharing moments of quiet. ‘An assignment on Memory’ follows the humble process of a young adult who happens to be twin-cultured, both an insider and outsider to Vietnam, as she listens, reads and learns about Vietnamese art and those who came before her. ‘[The writings] are simply personal reflections on artists who I have had the opportunity to talk to over the last couple of years. [They are] stories that are academic yet interpretive, that place the artists in the larger context of Vietnamese art history, but also uncover them in their own worlds as individuals. This balance intends to show what contemporary art can tell us about ourselves, as well as about the world around us’, expresses Carmen.

Nguyen Art Foundation is proud to support ‘An assignment on Memory’ by the young and talented writer Carmen Cortizas Fontan. Launched in December 2022, this online publication project featured a total of eight essays released over six months, available on both our website and Facebook. The realization of this project was made possible with generous support from the artist Nguyen Van Cuong.

NAF’s Publications foreground the importance of reading and writing about art and culture as modes of knowledge production and transmission. We commission experts and writers, young and established, from both within and outside of Vietnam to develop publications with a local focus, but that embrace regional and international exchange.