“Our lives are filled with conflicts – sometimes sad and sometimes humorous. My creative practice is an exploration of aspects of the national and cultural history of Vietnam, as well as personal and contemporary life experiences. I don’t aim to talk about anything specifically, preferring to focus on the visual relationships of disjointed elements and unusual scales. Influences include early and contemporary Surrealism.”
Born in 1976 and raised and educated in Hanoi, Nguyen makes art that reflects the comical situations arising from the rapid yet piecemeal processes of domestic urbanization and modernization. As a multi-disciplinary artist, he is equally at ease painting as he is creating large-scale installations or exploring performative work. Nguyen’s particular realist style encompasses a distinctive sense of playfulness and humour that sets him apart from previous generations of artists. As the son of a fighter jet pilot, he draws on the personal in his paintings of aircraft. Depicting military planes laden down with oversized grocery items, or else soaring across the sky with bushels from the rice harvest, Hung’s surreal scenes humorously morph a symbol of destruction with conduits of hope, benevolence and joy.
Nguyen Manh Hung has exhibited in a number of international exhibitions. Notable regional and international exhibitions include Asia Young 36, Jeonbuk Museum of Art, Jeonbuk, Korea (2016); Farmers Got Power, Galerie Quynh, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (2016); Mien Meo Mieng/Contemporary Art from Vietnam, Bildmuseet, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden (2015);One Planet, Galerie Quynh, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (2013); 7th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art at the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, Australia (2012); Living together in paradise, Goethe-Institut, Hanoi (2011); Tam Ta, San Art, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (2010); Connect: Kunstzene Vietnam, ifa Galleries, Berlin and Stuttgart (2009); Lim Dim: Young Vietnamese Artists, Stenersenmuseet, Oslo (2009); transPOP: Korea Vietnam Remix, ARKO Art Center, Seoul, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2007-2008); and Thermocline of Art. New Asian Waves, ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany (2007). In 2014 Manh Hung was an artist-in-residence at Musee D’Art Contemporain Du Val-de-Marne (MAC/VAL) in France. In 2015 he participated in Creative Fusion, an urban-based, community-engaged residency program at the Cleveland Foundation, Ohio.
Nguyen Manh Hung currently lives and works in Ho Chi Minh City.