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No & Meaning

January 8, 2018
December 9, 2017
Nguyễn Minh Thành

In collaboration with Art Vietnam Gallery, manzi art space presents 'No & Meaning' - the solo show marking Minh Thanh's return after half a decade.

Long known in the art community for his thoughtful, introspective musings of self, Thanh presents his life in all its simplicity and honesty. After 10 years of seclusion living a solitary, meditative life in the hillside of Dalat, Thanh has reduced his art to a simple expression of his happiness.

As the artists says, "Before, when the beauty appears, I feel happy. Now, when I am happy, the beauty appears".



"No" means nothing. "Meaning" means there is something that could be understood in our mind. In the world of thought, the word "no" has almost no value. If we put these two words together, we have a word that most people are afraid of: "no meaning" or "meaningless". 

People only care about meaningful words, something that makes sense....but in the world of beauty, it's different, the beauty is transferred to our eyes by space. The word "no", besides the negative or denial meaning, also means "space". If there is no space, there is truly nothing then.
Then we also can say that we can only feel the true beauty when there is nothing happening in our mind.

For a period of time, I practiced observing my thoughts and realized that most of them were trash. Then I let them go. They were truly my sorrow and the very thoughts which were meaningless while I misled myself from one thought to another. Certainly while I am writing this down I have to think, thanks for that! Life will be much more beautiful if we only use our thinking when it is truly necessary.

Recently in my paintings, I paint whatever I feel like, no subject, no idea, no concept, no idealism... I paint as if I am learning how to paint.

Before, when the beauty appears, I feel happy. Now, when I am happy, the beauty appears.

The reason for this difference is that my mind was occupied too much by my thoughts. Thinking and ideas are the very things that make our life complicated and also ruin Art. Visual art now is corrupted because of too much thought. I overheard that Friedrich Nietzsche once said: "you have a purpose, but if you are disabled, even if you can reach your purpose, you are still disabled".  Our civilization now is disabled, because most people are living by their thoughts and so few people realize that.

Meaning belongs to our thoughts, but beauty doesn't, it belongs to our eyes and our hearts. People are magnifying their thoughts bigger and bigger and then they forget their senses. If life becomes meaningless, it will be so terrifying. But if people know how to let go of their thoughts, that frightfulness will be gone. We will have a life as it should be as itself or as it is, with no dilemma of what is so called meaning or meaningless. And that is life, which is full of feeling, full of love and simplicity. Then our wisdom will grow, then people will have enough energy to be able to step forward and reach beyond the limit of time and matter.

That is what I see and I wish my paintings will be seen in that way.

- Nguyễn Minh Thành - December 2017


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