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Ba Dinh, Ha Noi, Vietnam
House on Stilts - Street address: Nhà sàn anh Đức, Ngõ 462, Đường Bưởi, Quận Ba Đình, Hà Nội, Việt Nam --- email: Telephone: 84 (0) 4 762 5452 This stilted Mường ethnic minority house (nhà sàn), relocated from Hòa Bình Province to the western suburbs of Hà Nội, is one of the capital’s most active centres for installation and performance art. The upper storey is a treasure-trove of old statues and other artefacts, many of which are on sale to the public. The ground floor area beneath the house is used for exhibitions, installations and performances by contemporary artists.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Nhãn/Longan - solo exhibition by Hoàng Minh Đức

Born and bred in Hung Yen, my childhood is filled with memories of the one thing that makes this place one of the most famous provinces in the North of Vietnam: its delicious and juicy longan. Up until now, I can still recall stories told by my ancestors, about how our longan was especially reserved as a tribute to the kings; along side are games my friends and I used to play underneath the longan trees; as well as baking summer days when we all had to go onto the fields to gather ripened logans. But above all, it is the exceptionally sweet and fragrant taste the logans produce that is most unforgettable. Just like that, the longan has long become a part of who I am and what I do. Not only a vital source of inspiration, it also has consistently been my key medium.

The longan, which literally translates ‘dragon’s eyes’ in Vietnamese, is named so because of the fruit’s resemblance to an eyeball when it is shelled. The seed is of an enamel-like, lacquered black and shows through the translucent flesh like a pupil. Therefore, by joining hundreds of seeds together, I am trying to ask the public to open their ‘eyes’ and minds to one another; to create both a metaphoric and physical bond between themselves, and between them and I; and to ensure that this precious link is forever maintained.