Falling into the Horizon
September 15, 2019
August 16, 2019
Quách Huy Bắc
The exhibition features Quách Bắc's new series of small sized oil paintings and a site-specific installation on the second floor of manzi art space. The works reflect the artist's observations of absurd circumstances in Vietnam today, which he explores for traces of fear and hidden hopes.
Utilising both empty mono-coloured spaces and clearly defined subjects, Bắc provokes a host of emotions with his series of paintings. The figures on the canvas react to their absurd situations as if performing on a stage. By illustrating different aspects of life and a variety of contemporary issues in each of his pieces, regardless of format, Bắc conveys bite-sized satire, a rather pessimistic reading of the human condition and doubt for what modern society can tolerate.
Complementing the paintings, Bắc’s site specific installation entitled ‘Valse’ (French for waltz) demonstrates an extremely dark view about the past, which forever endures in the minds of Vietnamese people.
‘Falling into the Horizon’ is Quách Bắc’s 2nd solo exhibition since ‘The Sky of Fame’- his first solo show in Saigon in 2016.
“This is how I avoid confrontation with the disappointment of reality. We are decaying in a thousand different ways,
are seeing dreams go unfulfilled, wounds that never healed
and have therefore lost our faith in an ideal society.”
- Quách Bắc talks about his practice process
* About 'The Balance' - one of the oil paintings
The artwork was inspired by a North Korean propaganda showcase that I came across on the Internet. I picked one particular detail of the showcase - a significant moment, and depicted it by painting: a male performer wearing military uniform with a flag in his hand, doing acrobats on the stage. The movement happens in a flash, as the performer lifts himself and the flag into the air, falls down, then alights. That when the performer tries to maintain balance as he is landing reminds us of the insecurity of symbols/values set in our society.
* 'Valse' - a site-specific installation
This site specific installation entitled ‘Valse’ (French for waltz) demonstrates an extremely dark view about the past, which forever endures in the minds of Vietnamese people. Within a small, restricted space, a procession of tiny statues of an iconic hero are frozen in the same action. They are on the verge of barging into each other, yet never able to converge. Though capable of only a single gesture, the figures to seem to want to move within the room they have been placed in. Their futile attempts hampered by the furniture that is also present. I gave the imagery the name of a dance to provide harmony – albeit choreographed - for these unpleasing yet earnest figures. For is it not the repetition of all things that makes up the rhythms and melodies of each of our lives?