Ha Manh Thang (b. 1980) lives and works in Hanoi. He graduated from the Hanoi Fine Arts University in 2004 and has been focusing on his unique painting practice since then. His work has been part of international exhibitions including Reök Palace in Budapest (2011), ifa Galleries in Stuttgart and Berlin (2009) and the Singapore Art Museum (2008). In September 2014, he will hold a solo show at Thavibu Gallery in Bangkok. He is also the only artist from Vietnam to have been profiled in Phaidon’s Painting Today (2009) alongside Gerard Richter and Peter Doig, to name a few.
Ha takes inspiration from Vietnam’s rich historical and cultural heritage and juxtaposes ancient references and representations to contemporary popular culture and urban architecture. His satirical paintings address and examine Vietnam’s cultural and social history within the context of the Doi Moi and the changes and transformations brought about by this era. In his first solo exhibition in Ho Chi Minh City in 2013 at Galerie Quynh, entitled
Heaven is a Place, Ha questioned the connections between the buildings we construct and the ideals that they embody. He explored iconic monuments such as the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi and reduced them to their basic skeleton or blueprint form. Their beauty is not visible anymore, only apparently recognisable in their ghostly form, but the monuments still retain their identity and therefore demonstrate how the memory of the ideals they represent are deeply ingrained in our collective consciousness.