Artwork image from the exhibition âm sáng by Nguyễn Huy An. Image c/o Galerie Quynh. 

âm sáng is an exhibition of works by Nguyễn Huy An, produced by and on view at Galerie Quynh between 13 June and 27 July 2019. 

“In âm sáng, Huy An finds inspiration in the rich folk and religious traditions of Northern Vietnam – scavenging relics, curiosities and memories from temple sites, theatres and distinguished actors. Once collected, these items are subtly manipulated and re-appropriated by the artist, drawing out reflections on the threads that run between the reality of today and the cultural heritage of epic mythologies and sacred communal rites that are very much a part of Huy An’s consciousness.

Originating in medieval times, the distinct styles of tuồng and chèo theatre embody ancient Confucianist value systems, centred on courtly and quotidian rural life respectively. They were sources not only of entertainment but of moral teachings and social satire as well. A central aspect of the Mother Goddess, or Đạo Mẫu, is a highly-charged spirit possession ritual called hầu đồng, whose ceremonies include singing, dancing, and a haunting musical component known as hát văn.”

A complementary publication of the show was also released in December 2019. The electronic version of the publication can be viewed here.