It is impossible to ignore the significant impact and transition Vietnamese people must have experienced as a result of the Vietnam War. It is against this melancholic and transitory backdrop that artists from this region have flourished, and a compelling contemporary art scene has evolved. Having participated in the Global Eye Programme's seminal 'Vietnam Eye' exhibition in Hanoi in 2016, Nigel Hurst, Serenella Ciclitira and Mehta Bell Projects selected a number of these artists to exhibit during START 2017.
Blood, Sweat and Tears hinted at the challenging and adverse circumstances these artists have endured, and yet it highlighted the fruits of their labours and offered the audience a snapshot of the exciting and dynamic work being produced from this region.
The title of the exhibition also alluded to a sense of physicality that ran throughout the exhibition, whether it is the physical binding of each other in the Le Brothers' video work, Nguyen Tri Manh physical 'throwing' of paint in his performance or Nguyen Van Du's use of blood in his paintings. Blood, Sweat and Tears hinted at the struggles and troubles of the past, but it also highlighted the confidence, forward-thinking and creativity of a group of artists that are breaking free of their war-torn heritage to offer a fresh, outward looking perspective.