Nguyen Van Cuong
Nguyen Van Cuong was born in 1976 in Bac Giang Province, Vietnam. He graduated from the Fine Art Teachers College in 1995 and at the top of his class from the Hanoi Fine Art University in 1999,. He is currently a lecturer at the National College of Music and Painting. Cuong has had over 15 solo and group exhibitions since 1997 and has won numerous honors and awards including first prize in 1996 (Propaganda Paintings) and in 2011 (Self Portraiture).
A majority of pieces we have selected for his Tokyo debut have been selected from his solo exhibition in Hanoi entitled "Make-Up Faces" "Sometimes we can not see the real face of a woman. Her face has become a place where she applies make-up, displays her glasses and perches her hat … Women do all this to 'take care of themselves' but are they actually adorning themselves in an attempt to escape who they really are?
Modern times with our constant exposure to media, airbrushing and models has created an expectation that a certain type of beauty is prescriptive if others are going to see them as 'beautiful'. Satisfying the desire for a perfect beauty is unattainable for most women but many will go to all means in their quest.
Many women feel that the changes they make to themselves will ultimately make them more attractive – but when considering the time and emotional energy it takes to get to this state of beauty, they almost certainly will have lost something in the process. Perhaps they think that beauty will make their existence easier. But it's possible for the "adorning" to go too far… an unsophisticated person who tries to doll herself up to become sophisticated or intellectual may feel uncomfortable with the roll, especially if they find that they are acting instead of being natural and being who they are. Changing ones appearance and then taking on a roll can be not only uncomfortable for the actress but deceitful to others.
My paintings are an attempt to show the contradiction between who women are and who they make themselves up to be. They address contradictions: femininity versus frivolity, truth versus fallacy, purity versus vulgarity, true beauty versus a sheath of deception … I hope that "Makeup Faces" gives the viewer a subtle but provocative message with the aesthetic contained within each piece. Even better would be that the paintings lead to a dialog about "Makeup" and it's implications for beauty." Painter Nguyen Van Cuong