Contemporary art

Bui Thanh Tam

Vietnam 1979

Bui Thanh Tam
Bui Thanh Tam
Male
Vietnam
1979
March 29, 2015

Bui Thanh Tam is a Vietnamese artist, best known for his exploration of Vietnamese contemporary society from different angles. In his works, Bui Thanh Tam has chosen to use parody and humor to convey the emotion towards a newly emerging modern Vietnam that is quickly adopting capitalism. Born in Thai Binh, Vietnam in 1979, Tam graduated from Vietnam Fine Arts University, Hanoi, Vietnam in 2009.

Bui Thanh Tam’s Crazy people series

Tam Bui Thanh has made his presence felt over the past years by his works that are like manifesto about his criticism of the changes in the Vietnamese society. With his collection Crazy People, Tam explores the effects of the hyper materialism being embraced by his compatriots. He believes this younger generation is changing for the worst, being obsessed with luxury brands and social status. The artist is therefore portraying his contemporaries as Vietnam’s ‘nouveaux-riches’ as they have enthusiastically taken on Western culture. The women in his paintings often serve as symbols and may be viewed as having non-traditional Vietnamese values.

His subjects possess the stylized faces of Vietnamese water puppets and portrays them with simpleton smiles and wide gentle stares. Their silly faces serve as masks behind which they hide their feelings of confusion and inadequacy. Consequently, Bui Thanh Tam can be linked with the cynical realism movement along with Yue Minjun.
The artist states that ‘this series of paintings was created when Vietnam is in a transitional stage. The halfhearted communist regime is on its path to change and integrate into the wider world. This sudden change without orientation makes the human psyche overwhelmed, confused and disoriented. The result is that society often develops conflicts between parts of the Vietnamese culture that are Eastern and parts that have Western influence.’

Other works by Bui Thanh Tam

Other noticeable works of Bui Thanh Tam include his Young Vietnamese Girls series – a portrait series owing to their captivating and characteristic faces, against a duality of strong colors in the background. In each portrait, traditional images of children are pasted onto these Vietnamese girls’ faces, adding an element of sensibility and intimacy between the viewer and the portrait. The colorful background and the images pasted onto their faces, represented almost like a memory, enables the viewer to imagine endless background stories of the girl or woman.

Bui Thanh Tam’s exhibitions

Bui Thanh Tam has taken part in international exhibitions in Hong Kong, Netherlands, Malaysia, and China as well as in Vietnam and Thailand. He has had many group exhibitions in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, and two solo exhibitions including Asia Contemporary Art Show (ACAS) and the Affordable Art Fair in Hong Kong.

Bui Thanh Tam lives and works in Hanoi, Vietnam.



YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2015There is no BoxThaviby Gallery, Bangkok, ThailandSolo
2014Viet Nam Now Changing Society - Canvas InternationalAmsterdam, HollandGroup
2014Asia Contemporary Art ShowHong KongGroup
2014CTG 5th Anniversary: Coming of AgeCraig Thomas Gallery, Ho Chi Minh CityGroup
2014Affordable Art Fair Hong KongHong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Hong KongGroup
2014Hong Kong Bound: AAF PreviewCraig Thomas Gallery, Ho Chi Minh CityGroup
2013Asia Contemporary Art ShowHong KongGroup
2013Affordable Art Fair Hong KongHong KongGroup
2012Crazy PeopleCraig Thomas Gallery, Ho Chi Minh CitySolo
2012ParcoursCraig Thomas Gallery, Ho Chi Minh CityGroup
2011National Young Artists FestivalHanoiGroup
2011Hello Tuan, Hello TamViet Art Center, HanoiGroup
2010MonalisaViet Art Center, HanoiSolo
2010National Fine Arts ExhibitionVietnam Exhibition Center of Culture and Arts, HanoiGroup
2008International Fine Arts ExhibitionVan Nam City, ChinaGroup
2007Beijing – Vietnam Fine Arts ExhibitionBeijing Arts Academy, ChinaGroup
2007Red River Delta Fine Arts Exhibition – Fine Arts PrizeKorean Culture Center, HanoiGroup
2007Fine Art Exhibition of Sports, Peace and ArtsNational Arts and Sport Exhibition Center, HanoiGroup
2004-2009National Fine Art Exhibition about Military ForceMilitary Museum, HanoiGroup
2001-2008Red River Delta Fine Art ExhibitionHanoiGroup