Culture / Art Republik

The Eyes Have it: Hom Nguyen at A2Z Gallery, Paris

Hom Nguyen brings a series of evocative portraits to the Montresso Art Foundation and A2Z Gallery Paris

Oct 11, 2017 | By Ilyda Chua

Hom Nguyen, ‘Life’s Line’, 2017. Images courtesy the artist and A2Z Art Gallery

In an exhibition running from October 14 to November 20 at the Montresso Art Foundation, A2Z Art Gallery presents a series of works by French artist Hom Nguyen.  In addition, he will also have a solo exhibition ‘Trajectory’ at A2Z Art Gallery, Paris between October 14 and November 25.

Massive, larger-than-life portraits make up the bulk of Nguyen’s oeuvre. Using a variety of of materials such as charcoal, gouache felt, oil and pen, Nguyen creates complex, magnified depictions of people from all walks of life.

A self-taught artist, Nguyen was born in 1972 to a Vietnamese family in Paris. While his early creations revolved around faces of celebrities, recreated in a mass of lines and colour, he eventually diversified into self-portraits in a similar abstract style. In a series titled ‘Sans Repères’, Nguyen also explores the faces of Asian children through primarily black-and-white masks in an endeavour to connect to his Vietnamese heritage.

Working almost exclusively on human faces in his trademark line-heavy, experimental style, Nguyen recognises that there is no absolutely unique way to create a portrait. However, this doesn’t stop him. “The faces tell a story,” he says. “It’s not their beauty or reputation that interests me. Rather, it’s their expression.”

Hom Nguyen, ‘Life’s Line’, 2017. Images courtesy the artist and A2Z Art Gallery

In ‘Sans Repères’, for example, he chooses to draw his subjects without their lips, allowing them to tell their stories purely through the emotion in their features, spelled out in sharply contrasted light and shadow. Referencing the forced silence of Asian immigrants who arrive in France, unable to speak the language or communicate in any way except their eyes, his works are a reminder of the invisible and forgotten in society.

“Behind every mask, there is someone who hides himself and protects his story,” explains the artist. “We don’t need words to communicate. All emotions can be communicated through our eyes. However, some of us need to express ourselves with words, and with the language barrier, there is no way to do that. In this series, I wanted to show the inner cry of these people.”

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ilyda chua

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