Close to Heaven
Nguyen Xuan Huy
Can and may art be political? There are many convincing examples of this, from Cranach to Goya to the present day. Sometimes art is downright prophetic: much of what we have to experience today is anticipated in Nguyen Xuan Huy's paintings.
The works of Nguyen Xuan Huy build bridges from the 21st to the 19th century. They react to the visual patterns of the present and at the same time possess the mastery of classical European painting. Nguyen's art takes up current issues and formulates haunting parables of extraordinary depth, complexity and virtuosity.
How is it that an artist born in Vietnam in 1976 moves like a fish in water in European art? Even as a child, Huy came across French art books from the Indochina period and tried his hand at copies after Géricault, Delacroix and Boucher. Soon he was drawing quick anatomical sketches, portraits and perspectives.
The young man came to Germany at the age of seventeen, learned the language within a year and a half, got his Abitur and studied at the Burg Giebichenstein Art Academy in Halle and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux.
His first major works dealt with the more recent present in Vietnam, the war and the communist regime. In the meantime, after the artist has spent more than half of his life in Germany, his new home continent has come into focus.
The key work in our exhibition, Close to Heaven, uses the simile of the Tower of Babel. It addresses hubris, filter bubbles and division. Another major work, "The Passage" deals with the elimination of the mind through ideological influence. “Exercises”, on the other hand, describes black and white thinking and the idiocy of warlike rituals.
In recent years, the artist has had solo presentations and participation in exhibitions at the Kunsthalle Darmstadt, the Mannheimer Kunstverein, the Kunstmuseum Jena, the Luxembourg Art Week, the Art Karlsruhe and the London Art Fair, the Haus am Lützowplatz in Berlin and other institutions.