Toriizaka Art presents "Paper & Glue" - a conceptual art exhibition by renowned Vietnamese artist, Dinh Cong Dat. The Exhibition runs from 1 December 2019 through 28 February 2020 and is Dat's first exhibition in the U.S. since 2006.
"Paper & Glue" is a conceptual art exhibition that celebrates the process of making art rather than the artwork itself. For Dinh Cong Dat, art lies in the joy of creating his artwork, not the culmination of his acts.
In his view, art is not the final tangible product. It is, instead, the thinking and process involved in the production of the end product. "Creativity lies not in the done, but in the doing". What truly excites and brings meaning for Dat is working slowly, meticulously and persistently. That is ART to him.
"The premise of this Exhibition is that the subject, the size, the material - they never matter in art. It is the thought process and the manual process of creating that is the art." Thus, the topic, the materials, the techniques and the process now become the art. The works of art are just the vocabulary and language to bring about the subject matter.
The whole process from ideation of the concept to completion of the "Paper & Glue" artworks took Dat eleven months. The Exhibition is comprised of a collection 42 sculptures -- 31 children and 11 adults -- made of inexpensive easy to find materials such as papier-mâché, glue, and ceramics. Each child doll is 30-40 cm tall, and each adult doll is about 50-60 cm tall. Dat purposely made dolls modeled on his long-time friends and their children because he wanted to represent a very ordinary subject, one that is not new or unique.
There are two parts in the collection. The first part includes dolls representing young children using a humble medium, mostly papier-mâché and glue. These dolls are a very simple, familiar representation of the children. Dat used many colors to emphasize their playfulness and innocence.
The children are mostly standing in small groups interacting with each other as if on a playground. While molding them, he thought about how they might talk and communicate with each other. Rather than making each child in isolation, Dat had to consider the interaction of the children which caused him to change the individual pieces throughout the process. Dat did not know where he was going with each individual child in the beginning -- but the experience of determining how the figures would interact helped guide him throughout the process and is what he enjoyed most.
The second part of the collection is comprised of eleven adult dolls which are modeled on Dat's friend / drinking buddies. In life, they are all well respected, successful and established poets, novelists and artists in Vietnam. He purposely made them look grimy and grubby, not at all serious, as many perceive them to be. In Dat's eyes, they are just some sad, old guys who have spent 25 years being friends together. The artistic experience for him was the process of interpretation - providing a different outlook on his friends as silly and fun - real humans.
"For the past 30 years of working and living with art, I have always been enchanted with the beauty of little and ordinary things. For me personally, art is the affections, the ordinary things that surround us in our everyday life." That has been Dinh Cong Dat's philosophy throughout his artist career: art does not have to be serious; it is about the process of exploration; appreciating the small and commonplace things and elevating them to consciousness through his artistic practice.
Karen Thomas, owner of Toriizaka Art, says, "I've always appreciated Dat's creative genius. With "Paper & Glue," Dat has again showcased his own artistic identity: a person with deep knowledge of traditional craft and technique with the perceptive mindset of a contemporary artist."
About "Paper & Glue"
"Paper & Glue" will be exhibited at Toriizaka Art from 1 December 2019 through 28 February 2020 and will be moved in March 2020 to Graz, Austria where it will be exhibited at the Galeria Ursula Stross.
About Dinh Cong Dat
Dinh Cong Dat was born Hanoi, Vietnam in 1966. He is an artist who combines the exhilarating sense of art created by a perceptive mind with the talents and skills of a skilled craftsman.
Emerging in the generation of sculptors of the late 90's in Vietnam, Dat was presented in a significant exhibition titled "New Space" at the National Fine Arts Museum, which opened the important transformation of cubist language and modern space to the Vietnamese sculptural scene. Over the years, Dat's sculptures have always been filled with improvisation, humor, sophistication and diversity along with a fresh spirit. Dat is a pioneer - discovering new material and daring to try new things; his work ever changing. He is never satisfied with the familiarity and tediousness of traditional creativities.
Dat has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions including at the Fielding Lecht Gallery in Austin, Texas; the Bankside Gallery in London, England; the Biennale in Liverpool City, England and the Iskandar Gallery in Paris, France.
His works have been shown in sculptural exhibitions at the Vietnam Fine Art Museum in Hanoi and the Ho Chi Minh City Museum. He has participated in workshops and residencies in England and New York. His works were featured in a May 2009 solo exhibition at the Tokyo American Club.
Dat is also retained by Hermes to design and create their store front displays in Vietnam. In addition, he has designed stages and scene production for well-known TV shows in Vietnam.
For more information: www.toriizakaart.com