Chương-Đài Võ: From the academy to revolution: The transition from realism to socialist realism in northern Vietnam, 1945-1954


This talk will look at the construction of Vietnamese socialist realism from 1945 to 1954, during the war of anti-colonial resistance and the formation of the state Democratic Republic of Vietnam. The first generation of socialist realists were graduates of L’École des Beaux-arts de l’Indochine, which was modeled after L’École Nationale Supérieur des Beaux-arts; the artists also were versed in the regional, pre-colonial aesthetic traditions and the European avant-garde. 

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They would have to navigate polemical struggles and aesthetic shifts during the transition to Vietnamese socialist realism, as can be seen in the formation of Trường Mỹ thuật trưng cấp [School of Fine Arts] in 1950, and the National Fine Arts Exhibitions. The discursive exchanges show shared political aspirations for the revolution, but the construction of what becomes socialist realism in northern Vietnam was neither a clear rupture from the past nor a foregone conclusion. It was a gradual searching, negotiation and reformulated synthesis of aesthetics and affiliations.

Chương-Đài Võ is a Researcher at Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong where she supervises archival collections on contemporary art from Southeast Asia. Her writing can be found in publications from MOMA Warsaw (forthcoming), Afterall, Institut national d’histoire de l’art (INHA), Moderna Galerija, and Taipei Fine Arts Museum. A former Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she is currently a Chercheuse Invitée at INHA.
This talk is part of the lecture „Modern Art - Global Perspectives“ (Moderne Kunst - Globale Perspektien) held by Eva Kernbauer in fall/winter 2021/22.
Preview January 2022:
Lecture by Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby, Berkeley, January 11th, 2022, 7:00–8:30 pm CET via Zoom
Lecture by Chương-Đài Võ
Lecture by Chương-Đài Võ