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Open Access Publications from the University of California

What Can Happen When the Artist Is Vietnamese


Looking back at his homeland from Paris, Tran Trong Vu's cartoonlike images explore bureaucracy and entrepreneurial conformity in a burlesque of socialist realist style. "When I was still in Hanoi, it was fairly easy for my fellow art students and me to understand that the purpose for a drawing exercise of a purely academic nature (without conceptual thought) was actually an exercise in technique. But none of the instructors would acknowledge this. Neither was there encouragement on the part of the art school for the development of individual styles. It was exactly this lack in training that produced the ranks of Hanoi artists lazy in their quest for new styles. But to be an artist means having to use one or many styles." The attached document contains an abridged English translation of Tran Trong Vu's remarks followed by the full text in Vietnamese.

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