Nguyễn Văn Cường
Born in 1972 in Thai Binh and graduated from the Vietnam University of Fine Arts in 1996, Nguyen Van Cuong is now considered one of Vietnam’s most respectful contemporary artists.
Growing up and making art during the transitional period in which Vietnam transformed itself From a subsided system to a socialist led market economy as a result of the “đổi mới” (renovation) policy, much of Cuong’s practice critically and satirically reflects and comments on the social and political changes. One of the common thread running through Cuong’s body of work is the idea of a degrading society full of “cultural pollutions. His brush and ink paintings are often bristling with aggressive symbols of the new capitalist and consumerist Vietnam - such as Benjamin Franklin’s head on the 100 US$ bill, karaoke machines, computers and prostitutes. “We need to make critical art for our changing society. We need to make necessary art. Art you can use for something, something that creates a dialogue with the audience and is not just for the beautiful decoration of your house”, he once famously stated.
Cuong’s work is the complete opposite of what is often considered “fine art” in Vietnam. His is brutal, aggressive and deals with the abject.