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Exhibition showcases the retro beauty of the past

Paintings and objects about the modern intellectual and cultural world in Vietnam, mostly from the beginning to the middle of the 20th century, are on display at an exhibition at The Muse Art Space in Hanoi.


Retro exhibition showcases about 36 works of arts in line with the modern intellectual culture world in Vietnam, mostly from the beginning to the middle of the 20th century. — Photo

The Retro exhibition is organised by The Muse Art Space and Sartorial Guys, a community for classic menswear enthusiasts and classic hobbyists in Vietnam.

The exhibition showcases 36 works of arts, divided into two main parts. The first part is dedicated to rare paintings and artefacts from private collections, while the second displays works by young artists inspired by the past.

The highlights are paintings by renowned Vietnamese painters such as Chân Dung (Portrait) by Nguyen Ngoc Tho (1925-2016), Chân Dung Nhà Thơ Thanh Toàn (The Portrait of Poet Thanh Toan) painted by Luu Cong Nhan (1929-2007) in 1986 and Hái Hoa (Picking Flowers) painted by Vu Cao Dam (1908-2000) in 1966.

Tiền Kiếp (Past Life) by painter Phan Cam Thuong created in 2019 is also displayed in the exhibition. The work reflects a spiritual principle in religion, with the belief that the maintenance of future lives is related to the debts of the present life.

Besides, works inspired by Hanoi are also on show, including Phố Ô Quan Chưởng (O Quan Chuong Street) by painter Le Van Xuong (1917-1988) and Phố Cổ Hà Nội (Hanoi Old Quarter) by painter Mai Long.

According to Van Vi, the curator of Retro, the visitors will also be able to contemplate original artefacts like a vintage brass coal iron with a rooster latch, a lamp oil, bronze statues, a porcelain box and postcards that date back to the 19th century.

A pair of vitreous enamel rooster statuettes by a temporary Vietnamese artisan is on display at Retro exhibition. Photo

“This is a unique opportunity for the art-loving public to enjoy both the beautiful works from the Indochina period (1946-1954) and modern works with nostalgic inspiration,” said photographer Le Bich.

“I am most impressed with the painting by painter Vu Cao Dam, in addition to the artefacts purchased from foreign auctions. Indeed, this is an opportunity to admire art and learn about the taste of the Vietnamese elite in the 20th century,” he added.

In addition to displaying artworks, the exhibition also aims to create an environment of “homogenous” interaction with visitors, with the presence of members of Sartorial Guys, a community passionate about tailor-made fashion.

"We first shared the same passion for retro clothing and then other hobbies like shoes, wine and antique collecting," said the founder of Sartorial Guys, 28-year-old Le Quoc Khanh.

"But apart from Sartorial Guys fashion, we’ll be pursuing and contributing to a culture of civilised history, towards eliciting values of the past worth preserving," he added.

"Vietnam has been through wars, the subsidy period then entered the Đổi Mới (Renewal) period with many economic concerns," said curator Vi.

"At present, when the economy has developed and the quality of life has been increasingly improved, people have become keener on fashion and hobbies; however, the trend of retro style has always had its own place and attraction," she said.

Retro will last until May 23. The dressing code is smart casual.  


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