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Virtual Realm

(Exhibition at The Factory Art Centre, Saigon, Viet Nam in 2017) 

​Ink on silk, wooden frame

She captures the tantalizing melancholy that can drown fragile souls, and forges it into her art. Her emotions glow like curious little Japanese Smiski creatures that hide in small spaces and the corners of rooms.


In her series, ‘Virtual Realm’, Xuan Ha’s style is uniquely her own. Rather than allowing her colours to diffuse, she layers simple, elegant ink strokes to create deep dark spaces on traditional silk.  The way the works are positioned to reveal both sides is significant too. The framing is an amusing reflection of the artist’s paradoxical desire to both alienate and expose herself. And the works’ rough surfaces are created by the flexible textile’s fibers.


The result resembles the characteristics of her subjects, but Xuan Ha’s characters are fictional constructs. Their bodies are suave and feminine, their faces androgynous. They struggle through society, but their heads are shaved and their eyes are closed as if in peaceful meditation.


And so, one asks the other:


Q: Why don’t you and I have hair?

A: In Buddhist teaching, hair is the embodiment of the sorrows of mankind.

Q: But it still grows?

A: And we still have to shave it!


‘Virtual Realm’ breathes with this indefinite sadness. The works have the air of Daehyun Kim’s Moonassi paintings, but they are more feminine, more peaceful. In their way, they reveal their stories. And in ‘their’ stories, we recognize parts of ‘us’ too.

* written by Le Thien Bao, edited by David Kaye

© 2017 Nguyen Vu Xuan Ha


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