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Khan Cong Bui
Born on 1/1/1972 in Da Nang city – Viet Nam

Graduated from the oil painting Branch University of Fine Arts of HCM city

1996 – Participated to the Annual Exhibition of the Young Club in HCM city

1997 – Installation Arts Exhibition “ Who am I ?” with French and Vietnamese students

1998 – Group Exhibition by Young Artists at Viet Nam Gallery in HCM city, Vietnam

1999 – Group Exhibition by Young Artists at Blue Gallery in Da Nang city, Vietnam

6/2000 – Participated (painting and performance with Korean Artists) to « Arts Exhibition for World Peace » at GANA Gallery in Seoul, Korea

April 2002 – « Tiedeux du Sud » at Impressions Gallery, Paris, France

May 2002 – « Viet Nam Multifaceted » in Toulouse, France

June 2002 – Participated to the International Workshop « Melting Pot » in Toulouse, France

Nov. 2002 – Participated to the International Performance Art festival « Asiatopia 2002 » in Bangkok, Thailand. Participated to « Windows to Asia arts network» (ANA) Vietnam Workshop

Dec. 2002 – Installation, Performance and Arts Exhibition « Hoi An’s People » at La Gai Arts Space, Hoi An, Viet Nam

Sept. 2003 – Participated to the Arts Exhibition « Seoul – Asia Art Now », Seoul, South Korea

Nov. 2003 – Participated to Hoi An artist Club Exhibition « The Colour », Vietnam

Dec. 2003 – Installation and Performance at Binh Quoi village in HCM city. Performance at Blue Gallery in HCM city, Vietnam

March 2004 – Personnal Exhibition of Paintings, Installation and Performance « I and the What » at Mai’s Gallery in HCM city, Vietnam

June 2004 – Young View Competition, Centre Culturel Français de Hanoi, 2nd Price

July 2004 – Participated to « Nipaf Asian Performance Art Series » in Tokyo, Japan

Sept 2004 – Participated to the International Art Performance “Congress-Welcome Gold “, Seoul , Korea. Participated to the International Art Performance in Kwang-Ju Biennale – South Korea

Oct. 2004 – Participated in Sea Arts Festival -Busan Biennale, South Korea

Dec. 2004 – Exhibition painting in Seoul, South Korea

Jan. 2005 – Young Artists Exhibition at Sai Gon south Arts Center, Vietnam

March 2005 – Artist in Residence. Vermont Studios, Vermont, United States

May 2005 – Personnal Exhibition paintings and Installation « The Souvenir » at Mai’s gallery in HCM city, Vietnam

July 2005 – Participated to « Tipaf Asian Performance Art Series » in Taipei, Taiwan

Nov. 2005 – Participated to the International Performance Art festival « Asiatopia 2002 » in Bangkok, Thailand. Installation video at Rendez-Vous in HCM city, Vietnam

Artworks Contents

Oil Paintings :
In most of my paintings, I choose to talk about myself, putting myself on front stage, in order to talk indirectly about the suffering of Vietnamese people, through my own life and experience, as a strong censorship still exists in Vietnam, which doesn’t allow me to talk about other people’s life. In “Old generation”, the old man screams his suffering strongly and brightly, whereas in “New Generation”, I am scratching my head in order to show my doubts and inquiries. Like in the two paintings “Now I am a good man”, “Now I am a bad man”, I often like to criticize myself, as any human being, I can be good and I can be bad. These two paintings also remind us of the same type of traditional paintings at the entrance of pagodas in Vietnam. Look at my feet, “What am I stepping on ?”, on some blood, on my own suffering ? Whereas the painting “My Back”, with many cuts and scars symbolizes my past, my suffering and my experience, kept behind me. Finally, “Watch my Back” could mean “be careful, watch out”, as I don’t like people watching me behind my back without me knowing, I am afraid of people controlling me or spying on me…

Lacquer Paintings :
Originally, Lacquer was used in China and in Japan for furniture and for decorative objects. In Vietnam, lacquer painting was a technique taught at the Fine Arts School of Hanoi. In the beginning of the 20th century, most of the Vietnamese students were learning the major Occidental technique, oil painting. But several wanted to distinguish themselves by using the traditional Vietnamese technique of lacquer painting.

Lacquer painting is made of several layers of resin and lacquer, coated one after each other, polished with sand paper and water, on a wooden panel. Only a few natural colours exist: Red, green, black, and yellow, made of golden leaf, and white, made of eggshell.

After learning the technique of oil painting at the Fine Arts School of Hô Chi Minh city, I have been exploring the possibilities of lacquer paintings for two years, studying a lot with others artists and friends from Hué. Lacquer painting is a very difficult and different technique from oil painting, which requires many sketches. Nowadays, contemporary artists like to improve the traditional technique by mixing it with other natural materials, such as sand and small stones, in order to experiment with the technique and to change the colours. The interesting part of the technique is the fact that we need to wait until all the layers are dried in order to discover the final result of the artwork, which means notions of probability and chance are part of it.

This series of lacquer paintings depicts portraits of different human beings with their merits and their failings, with their strength and their weakness. Look at the Monk and the man with a scar on his face : you can see that they have the same suffering in life, although they are very different people. The recurrent letter “A” symbolizes the scream in many different ways. The scream in the speaker used in everyday life, that Vietnamese people can hear all over in the streets, for propaganda or public messages to the population, on many different subjects such as health care, vaccination for dogs and children, chicken flue or weather broadcast. The scream of the people hidden by the scream of the speaker as the Vietnamese government doesn’t want to hear about it. “A” designates the suffering of the past, whereas “@” brings up the current sufferings.

Finally, the golden dog is here to celebrate the New Year of Dog of Fire, 2006, which has just started.