"Paper and Glue"
Dinh Cong Dat
About “Paper & Glue"
Toriizaka Art presents “Paper & Glue” by renowned Vietnamese artist, Dinh Cong Dat. This conceptual art exhibition celebrates the process and joy of creating art, rather than simply the completed product. “Creativity lies not in the done, but in the doing.” What excites and brings meaning for Dat is working slowly, meticulously and persistently. “The premise of this exhibition is that the subject, the size, the material – they never matter in art. It is the thought process and the manual process of creating that is the art.”
The process from concept to completion of “Paper & Glue” took Dat eleven months. The exhibition is comprised of 42 sculptures -- 31 children and 11 adults -- made of inexpensive and easily accessible materials such as papier-mâché, glue, and ceramics. Each child doll is 30-40 cm tall, and each adult doll is about 50-60 cm tall. Dat purposely made dolls modeled on his long-time friends and their children because he wanted to represent ordinary lives.
“Paper & Glue” will be exhibited at Toriizaka Art from 1 December 2019 through 28 February 2020 and will be moved in March 2020 to Graz, Austria where it will be exhibited at the Galerie Ursula Stross. This is Dat’s first exhibition in the U.S. since 2006.
The collection has two parts. The first part includes dolls representing young children. Dat used many colors to emphasize their playfulness and innocence. The children are gathered in small groups as if on a playground. While molding them, Dat thought about how they might communicate. Rather than making each child in isolation, Dat had to consider their interactions. This caused him to change the individual pieces throughout the process. As he began, Dat did not know where he was going with each individual child -- but the experience of determining how the figures would interact guided him throughout the process and is what he enjoyed most.
The second part of the collection is comprised of eleven adult dolls which are modeled on Dat’s friends and drinking buddies. All are well respected, successful and established poets, novelists and artists in Vietnam. He purposely made them look grimy and grubby, not serious, as many perceive them to be. In Dat’s eyes, they are just sad old guys who have spent 25 years being friends together. The artistic experience for Dat was the process of interpretation -- providing a different outlook on his friends as real people who are silly and fun.
“For the past 30 years of working and living with art, I have always been enchanted with the beauty of little and ordinary things. For me personally, art is the affections, the ordinary things that surround us in our everyday life.” Dat’s philosophy throughout his career is that art does not have to be serious. It is about the process of exploration, appreciating the small and commonplace, and elevating them to consciousness through his artistic practice.
The Adults - "My Buddies" - Artists, Poets, Writers
“I’ve always appreciated Dat’s creative genius. With “Paper & Glue,” Dat has again showcased his own artistic identity: a person with deep knowledge of traditional craft and technique with the perceptive mindset of a contemporary artist.” Karen Thomas
About Dinh Cong Dat
Dinh Cong Dat was born in Hanoi, Vietnam, in 1966. He is an artist who combines the exhilarating sense of art created by a perceptive mind with the talents and skills of an accomplished craftsman.
Emerging in the generation of sculptors of the late 90’s in Vietnam, Dat was presented in a significant exhibition titled “New Space” at the National Fine Arts Museum, which showed the important transformation of cubist language and modern space to the Vietnamese sculptural scene. Dat’s sculptures have always been filled with improvisation, humor, sophistication and diversity along with a fresh spirit. Dat is a pioneer - discovering new material and daring to try new things; his work ever changing.
Dat has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions including at the Fielding Lecht Gallery in Austin, Texas; the Bankside Gallery in London, England; the Biennale in Liverpool City, England and the Iskandar Gallery in Paris, France.
His works have been shown in sculptural exhibitions at the Vietnam Fine Art Museum in Hanoi and the Ho Chi Minh City Museum. He has participated in workshops and residencies in England, South Korea and New York and his works were featured in a May 2009 solo exhibition at the Tokyo American Club.
Dat is also retained by Hermes to design and create their store front displays in Vietnam. In addition, he has designed stages and scene production for well-known TV shows in Vietnam.