In a career spanning over two decades, Hoang Duong Cam (b. 1974, Hanoi) dexterously alternates between painting, photography, video, installation, performance, and collaborative projects. Central to his artworks are the often humorous, sometimes absurdist explorations of the complex mechanisms that connect the self and its surroundings. The density of detail seen in much of Hoang’s oeuvre stems from his extensive pool of disparate references: from the Socratic dialogues to Edo-era prints to quantum physics. Collated from history and contemporary reality, the artist’s fragmented narratives revel in confusion and uncertainty, laying bare the contradictions inherent in human thought and behaviour.
Hoang’s canvases, as layered with paint as they are with metaphors, are visual (re)constructions of liminal spaces, of distances irreconcilable. Though fascinated with historical and psychological boundaries, through his works the artist contends that boundaries are not a given but fluid and impermanent. When using media other than painting, Hoang often presents subtle, amusing projects that catch the viewer off-guard in their seeming straightforwardness. In juxtaposing and filtering through his eclectic interests, Hoang makes way for an unpremeditated sense of whimsy, or unease, or haunting melancholy to arise in his works.
A prolific artist since his graduation from the Hanoi Fine Arts University in 1996, Hoang has exhibited in various institutions and biennales across Asia, North America and Europe. Notable exhibitions include The Atlas of Clouds, Francois Schneider Foundation, Wattwiller, France; Sunshower: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980s to Now, Mori Art Museum and The National Art Center, Tokyo, Japan; Eagles Fly, Sheep Flock: Biographical Imprints – Artistic Practices in Southeast Asia, curated by Khim Ong for Art Stage Singapore 2015: Southeast Asia Platform; Electronic Pacific, SOMArts, San Francisco; 36 Reasons Why We Still Need Superman, video festival curated by Tim Crowley, Centro de Investigaciones Artisticas, Buenos Aires, Argentina; traveled to Casa Tres Patios, Medellín, Colombia and Instituto Superior de Arte, Havana, Cuba; VideoZone 5, the 5th International Video Art Biennial, Tel Aviv, Israel; Daegu Photo Biennale, Daegu, South Korea; Arts and Cities, Aichi Triennale, Nagoya, Japan; Connect: Art Scene Vietnam, ifa Galerie Berlin and Stuttgart, Germany; Fluid Zone, Jakarta Biennale, Indonesia; Post-Doi Moi: Vietnamese Art After 1990, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore; the 3rd Guangzhou Triennial, Guangdong Museum, Guangzhou, China; Migration Addicts (Mogas Station), a collateral event of the 52nd Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy; Thermocline of Art. New Asian Waves, ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art, Karlsruhe, Germany; and Belief (Mogas Station), Singapore Biennale 2006. In 2009 he was an artist-in-residence at the acclaimed Tokyo Wonder Site, Japan.
In 2012, along with artists Quang Lam, Phan Quang, Nguyen Thanh Truc and UuDam Tran Nguyen, Hoang co-founded XEM, a publication showcasing photography-based works by its founding members and invited artists. Since 2001, Hoang has been living and working in Ho Chi Minh City.