Ho Chi Minh’s Fine Art (1975-2000)

By artist Nguyen Thanh Binh, 2000

Ha Long by Hoang Tram

Since 1975, there has been mainly two dominating creative trends of Art in Ho Chi Minh City:

1-The trend created by artists from the North including artists who are originally Southerners but regrouped in the North in 1954 according to the Geneva Agreement.

2-The trend created by artists from the South – mainly from Saigon and Hue – who have been living and working in the South since before 1975.The first group includes those names as Hoang Tram, Nguyen Cao Thuong, Nguyen Hai, Pham Muoi, Thai Ha, Huynh Phuong Dong, Nguyen Thanh Chau, Co Tan Long Chau, Nguyen Van Kinh, especially the wellknown sculpture Diep Minh Chau together with artists who graduated from the Fine Art College of Viet Nam as Ca Le Thang, Dao Minh Tri, Nguyen Hoang who are deeply influenced by academic features of Russian and European training methods. (Most of the art teachers from Ha Noi Fine Art College had studied and graduated from the Fine Arts College of Indochine opened in Ha Noi in 1925 by French colony).The second group with Nguyen Khai, Nguyen Phuoc, Nhieu De, Ho Huu Thu, Nguyen Lam, Do Quang Em, Nguyen Trung, Buu Chi have represented a technical and stylistic abundance in Art. They keep focusing more on their own creation than in academic features even modern art has become a new trend.This interference did not bear any new school of Art but infact, it created a differen style which is separated from both trends. It has finally emerged in to the diverse look to the Southern Fine Art. The evolution in creative thoughts in Fine Arts, like the economical motions in HCM City, has taken place faster and more has been diversified than that of Ha Noi. Typical artists Ho Huu Thu, Nguyen Trung, Do Quang Em, Dao Minh Tri, Ca Le Thang, Hua Thanh Binh, Nguyen Thanh Binh, Do Hoang Tuong, Nguyen Tan Cuong, Tran Van Thao have asserted their own styles and have made themselves a representative face of Southern Fine Art after a decade of long searching and experiment. If one find beautiful lacquer paintings from the North by famous artists Nguyen Tu Nghiem or Hoang Tich Chu he then can appreciate valuable classic works by Nguyen Gia Tri or Hoang Tram from the South whose works show a great subtle techniques. In this respect, we should count on talent Nguyen Xuan Viet who used to be student of master Nguyen Gia Tri and whose works express a skilful combination of modern Art on traditional material. It is common to find a technical polishing and a tendency towards perfection in every art works by artists from the South no matter what subject or material the painting tries.Even though most of the art works from Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City try to express a Vietnamese soul through the precise media of modern Art language, we can easily feel a breath from a modern center on all aspects of Art in Ho Chi Minh City and it is one of the most typical differences between the two art centers of Viet Nam.

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