Vietnam: Shifting tensions in Vietnamese contemporary art

5 February 2015

An article by Art Radar highlights how Vietnam’s blossoming contemporary art scene is held in check through a complex set of bureaucratic hurdles coupled with hit-and-miss government censorship and lack of critical infrastructure funding, at a time when it should be enriching, not sabotaging this shining asset.

Licenses are needed to display any type of creative work in a government institution or cultural facility. Painting, sculpture, film, performance, installation or photography are all directed to different departments and ministries for approval as part of a two-tiered process. The first tier is the museum itself. Oddly enough, the museum is forbidden from censoring photography, though it can censor any other medium.

Video art presents a complex situation, as it is not a documentary or film. It must be submitted to three departments: film, cultural and performance, with any of them able to veto its display.

Photo: “Ke Mong Du, Sleepwalker”, pop up performance, January 2015. Image courtesy Sao La.

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