Roots - Cội rễ 

In the context of modern and contemporary art history in the global world, the concept of Sculpture has undergone many transformations as well as broadening its scope of understanding and perception. Among the methods of Sculpture practice, Stone Sculpture especially has a long history associated with great works and human civilization such as the ancient Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Persian, Greek, or Roman stone sculptures. Sculpture today is much more multifaceted and ambiguous than most other art forms in art theory, nowadays the concept of Sculpture is not only used to describe landmarks, memorials, public monuments, or abstract objects but also used to depict ready-made or found objects, photography, performances, and much more.

Inspired by the stone material at Ninh Vân traditional stone village, Ninh Binh - Hoa Lư ancient capital with a long history and traditional culture, nine sculptors have come to reside and work since April 2021. During the hot summer days, in addition to the risk of the COVID pandemic that is still tiptoeing around different corners of the world, the artists have worked so hard and finally come up with 40 new works. The project called Transforming partly reflects the reality and ups and downs during nearly half a year of the project, a message about a spirit and attitude that artists want to convey about adapting to circumstances in all of life's challenges. Transforming also represents a belief in the power of art to be regenerative and to offer new hope in a critical time of human history and turmoil.

Sculptor Le Thi Hien is still fascinated with basic geometry and how these shapes work together to create movement and open dialogue. The artist's Sliding series this time, as soon as we enter the exhibition space, creates variations and underground movements that suggest the vibration and the story that is about to be revealed. The strong and decisive black stone blocks of Dao Chau Hai and Khong Do Tuyen under natural light during the day and the transformation of artificial light in the evening create poetic effects. Khong Do Tuyen's Standing Movements, Circular Movements, and Waves are intense but also filled with hidden emotions and thoughts. Meanwhile, Dao Chau Hai refuses to create meaning and naming, but only keeps rational cold numbers in series #5221 and #5222, inviting viewers/readers to immerse themselves, observe,  enjoy and reflect for themselves. At the same time, viewers are caught up in Tran An's series of works O with the motif of circular holes repeated in his five different works. The circle has many images associated with the origin and nurture such as the earth, planets, stars, molecules... It is also a door that swirls mysteries that attract viewers' eyes, and don't forget, the pupils are also a circle shape. Then, to step through that abstract world, Dao Tan's series of Orders pulls us back to a painful reality about the fate of anonymous people who seem to have been dehumanized into inanimate goods in the labor supply chain of the global economy. Following that, Luong Trinh's series of Variations works as an interesting mirror and contrast on the position of people with the world. However, the relationship of human beings in the Variation series is questioned about the origin, spiritual connections, and animism. Therefore, Luong Trinh's works seem to portray a special inner sound and musicality as well as the sound of mountains and rocks that he wants to convey. Thai Nhat Minh continues to exploit the sensual round shapes that bring strange weight and elegance in the series of works of Goddess, Condensation, and Wings. Infatuated with finding an ideal image of a Goddess - a legendary symbol, both real and virtual about a woman, Minh's handling of materials and shapes this time also shows his ingenuity and sophistication in emotional blocks. Goddesses, emotions, and wings are all fictitious figures existing only in the human imagination, and now they are realized into solid blocks of rock that stand the test of time. The Puzzle is Luong Van Viet's first experiment with stone. However, the artist still asserts and demonstrates his ingenious skill in spatial manipulation and creates a close connection structure between the entire series of works as well as the humorous character of the arrangement of the rules. There is no fixed, hierarchical linearity in the pieces. They are improvisation and participation in the work in different dimensions of the viewer. Concluding the circle of Transforming, Le Lang Luong brings the series Heaven's Gate, a series of works that are both lively and witty. Heaven's Gate exists as a symbol in the minds of Eastern people about a milestone marking the conquest of Nature. With blocks that are both human and symbolic. With blocks that are both human silhouettes and abstract and ambiguous, Heaven's Gate seems to question whether our beliefs in a spiritual world or a mysterious distant realm transcend the realms of reality out of human control and understanding. Or is it ultimately just a product of human imagination?

Parallel to the journey with Transformation, the artists have overcome many levels of Joy, Anger, Love, Hate. The works of art are the conclusion and reflection of that journey. We invite you to come and contemplate in the space of Transforming to carry away your memories and emotions.

                                                                                     Do Tuong Linh

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