Nguyen Khac Chinh was born in 1984 originally to Cat Que, Hoai Duc – one of the villages in the ‘land of a hundred crafts’ with some well-known handicrafts and countless temples and pagodas besides famous traditional wrestling. For an artist, such a villager’s cultural foundation is a real pride to take in.

A graduate from University of Fine Arts in 2006, Chinh possesses proficiency in oil painting skill, which he has been practicing through several group exhibitions from his student time to regular exhibitions ever since he became a professional in painting. The young artist puts himself into arts in such a serious, determined and aggressive yet very patient and robust manner like a…wrestler. Chinh sees himself “work as punctually as a civil servant.” This earnest attitude, which is something young artists should equip themselves with if they are to step out of their comfort zone and beyond domestic borders, can be found easily in many of Chinh’s works. This is especially true with the series in his upcoming solo exhibition “Life of Mannequins”.

The series are a manifestation of personal narratives. If you look at them thoroughly enough, you will feel the artist’s ambition and desire expressed through the symbols that he wants to develop into some kind of styles. He is ambitious to embrace all of those universal faces out there in the life that he’s living in, especially those of the young generation’s. He paints what he feels by creating multiple unreal faces, all of them alike as empty shells with no sensitivity or emotions. Abstinence and control happening continuously on a figure or a group of figures depicted with skepticism frustrate viewers in a hard to describe way. And it works! On the other hand, there is a clear desire to get his message across and remind individual viewers to stop and look back at their own life, to see whether they have been living it mostly with their true feelings and emotions or mostly like mannequins in this “plastic” era. This even opens up a broader message, that men are being ‘mannequin-ized’ and human qualities are being transformed in human technologies, which in turn are penetrating deeply into how behaviors towards traditions are evolving… And it can be even more powerful and haunting if the ambiguity and skepticism demonstrated through the figures’ gestures and the overall space and ambience of the paintings get deeper into abstract sense and consciousness …

Lai Chau 29/8/2014

Lam Vu