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Lives and Works: Vietnam
Born in 1980 in Hanoi, Ngo Van Sac's wood burn portraits represent a pivotal point in his artistic path. He started painting on wood panels about ten years ago, but when he looked back at the paintings he had created, none of them were up to his standards. So, he burned them all. In the flames, with natural colours created by the heat, he saw them in a new way discovering in them a new life and a new art form. By combining fire and natural pinewood, Ngo Van Sac truly found himself.
The subjects depicted in Ngo Van Sac’s artworks are inspired by his travels around Vietnam. He is often struck by the beautiful authenticity of the people, primarily children, he encounters
"My artworks are about desires: the tension between real life and fantasy and the intricate relationships between humans. To show this intensity, I like strong renderings of figure, the effect of different surface textures and the strong contrast between black and white.”
One of his more poignant artworks, “Land of Memory” features a little school girl in the minority village of Sapa, where Ngo Van Sac was doing charity work. The child’s naive dream of life captivated him. He wondered, if in her innocence, was she yearning for a better life in the city? Was she aspiring for a bright and better future, as hope was evident from the expression on her face. He left the village riveted by her; she remained in his head for a long time and he felt compelled to do a portrait of her. Upon the completion of the portrait, he was able to let go of the memory of her.
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