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The Age After Divinity

August 6, 2018
July 6, 2018
Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng

‘The Age After Divinity' displays a series of new works by Hanoi-born surrealist, Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng, whose playful, irony-laden work has been turning heads in the contemporary art scene of Vietnam.

Depicting activities and events of daily life in an absurd world, this series of oil and water colour paintings presents immersive environments with droll juxtapositions that cleverly allude to cultural realities, social conflicts, the complexities of civic development and individual responsibility in Vietnam today.

Focusing on the visual relationships of disjointed elements and unusual scales, with 'The Age After Divinity', Hung has conveyed his wry sense of humour and boldly brought audiences to a world in which everything is made bare through his biting irony.

*This event is part of Manzi’s art programme supported by the Danish Embassy



"Once upon a time, back in the ancient days, divine beings used to dwell in the human realm, living amongst mortals under the guise of various living creatures. Despite this, man hardly came across a deity often, and even in the case of an actual encounter, it was not at all obvious and man remained unaware.

In that ancient time, one land had undergone severe toils of war. Luckily, the Emperor of that land, with the help of many divinities, finally won over the invaders and revived the kingdom. In gratitude of the divine graces who had assisted him, the Emperor decreed that the divinities would be worshipped with the title ‘Hộ Quốc Thánh’ (‘Sacred Guardian

of the Empire’ or ‘Empire’s Patron Saint’) and a permanent privilege of worship and adoration would be extendedto all generations of the divinities’ offspring. Everyone in the kingdom rejoiced and swore to comply.

Many years passed, the divinities, one after another, deserted the human realm, left behind their positions and were succeeded by their descendants. Although these descendants of divinities were unfortunately not divinities. Closely as they resembled their sacred ancestors in outer appearance, in the inner essence, they did not in fact possess any extraordinary power. However the decree had been passed, the subjects complied and the edict of the First Emperor continued to be honoured, the people of this kingdom continued worshipping and serving all descendants of the divinities as solemnly and

respectfully as before. Like ordinary people, not divine beings, with banal mindset like any other mere mortals on earth, the descendants of divinities also surrendered to all kinds of passions, lusts and were subject to all earthly vices and sufferings.

This series of drawings presents activities and events of daily life indicating how people of that land may have interacted and dealt with descendants of the divinities.

Nguyen Manh Hung – June 2018


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