“Having spent over two decades in the world of advertising, I have developed both a personal and professional interest in how information is shaped and re-shaped, manufactured and packaged, to sell a product, a belief or even an ideology. This process is a sort of informational connect-the-dots game. The more dots we are given, the more points of reference we have to build a clearer picture. The key to selling a message is not so much in manipulating the message itself, but in manipulating our perception of the message – in other words, redefining the personal values and beliefs that inform our assessment of what is true. Control the dots and you control the resulting image.”
Through painting and film, Thien Do makes art that is grounded in his personal experiences with the censors in Vietnam, one of the few remaining Communist countries in the world. Licenses must be obtained for public exhibitions in the country; content is scrutinized for socially, morally and politically improper content. In Do’s most recent paintings, the Vietnamese word ‘bay’ is parodied. With its multiple meanings – improper, false, nonsensical, unethical, immoral, obscene, evil, misleading, unauthorized, risqué, politically incorrect – ‘bay’ is used to question the rules and guidelines in society. But when do such rules impede on progress? What separates prevention and suppression? Protection and oppression?
Thien Do is currently based in Los Angeles, California.