- My Hang
- BBC News Vietnamese
3 hours ago
The Vietnamese painting world has just received a news that is said to be ‘unprecedented’ from 1975 to now: 29 paintings in the Improvisation exhibition at Alpha Art Station by artist Bui Chat have just been ordered to be destroyed.
Along with that, painter Bui Chat was invited by the authorities to work and made a fine of 25 million VND.
This sanctioning decision was signed by Mr. Duong Anh Duc, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City, with the reason that the exhibition “did not ask for permission”, based on the provisions of Clause 4, Article 19 of Decree No. 38/2021/ND- CP on sanctioning administrative violations in the field of culture and advertising.
Talking to BBC News Vietnamese on August 16, painter Bui Chat confirmed the above incident and said that he was “shocked”, “stunned by surprise” when he heard that his paintings had to be destroyed.
According to painter Bui Chat, about 4-5 days after the opening of the exhibition, “there was a group called the cultural inspection team between the Cultural Security and the Department of Culture and Sports, to check”, after that more than Three weeks later they issued a minutes of administrative sanction.
At the same time, this minutes requires artist Bui Chat to “remediate the consequences” by destroying all 29 paintings in the exhibition.
‘Awaken Freedom’ and ‘Open Your Mouth’
Bui Chat has been known for a long time as a poet, but he has been painting for 10 years now, and this is the first exhibition in his brush career.
In addition to painting and writing poetry, Bui Chat is the leader of the Open Mouth group, which has been active for about 20 years with some other poets such as Ly Doi, “offering a different style of poetry, unlike ‘oriented’ poetry in the view of score of the Central Committee for Thought and Culture of the Communist Party or the Vietnam Writers’ Association”.
The Open Mouth Group also launched Waste Paper Publishing House, and a number of other activities.
Is it because of ‘awakening freedom’ and ‘opening mouth’ that Bui Chat is now being punished and his paintings destroyed?
Painter Bui Chat said he did not have enough evidence to deny or confirm this, although he said that during the past 10 years he has been banned by the government from leaving the country.
‘I also often face difficulties in doing business, and no one dares to rent a house because of harassment,’ Bui Chat told the BBC.
Talking about the content of his paintings in the exhibition, Bui Chat said his paintings are “mostly abstract” and that he “doesn’t put any specific intention into the work but just pure art”.
“I don’t have the right to speak for the work. Viewers each feel and interpret the painting in their own way. Those who say it has political intentions, let them prove it,” said Bui Chat.
Regarding the handling form of the authorities, painter Bui Chat said:
“According to the principle of the law, no matter what the consequences of wrongdoings are, the consequences will be overcome. An art exhibition can only cause effects, not consequences, so the consequences cannot be overcome. by destroying all paintings.”
Mr. Bui Chat said that in terms of applying the law, the authorities may not be wrong. However, Decree 38/2021 is potentially unconstitutional and goes against human rights principles.
He also said that the act of destroying paintings also violates the property rights of others.
“I take the example of a person from abroad who brought a collection of precious Indochina paintings and opened an exhibition at home, because he did not know the procedure, so he did not ask for permission.
“Could it be that the government came to sanction, make a record, and then destroy the entire painting? Meanwhile, that painting can be considered a national treasure and can cost up to several tens of millions of dollars.”
“They don’t care what the content of the picture is, how valuable it is, but only care about the form of punishment. I think this is a serious problem.
“Culturally, this is a form of destruction of the cultural future, a crime against culture.
“They don’t care how valuable the works may be later. Maybe 10 years from now these works will be judged on a different level of value. They don’t understand that.
“If these works are destroyed, it will create a stain on the government and a stain on Vietnamese culture.
“There has never been a case in Vietnam where an artist exhibited his paintings because he did not ask permission to destroy them,” painter Bui Chat told the BBC.
Mr. Bui Chat also said that he would sue and “protect his rights to the end”.
Opinions from painters and artists
Talking to BBC News Vietnamese from Saigon, writer Nguyen Vien speak:
“The fact that poet Bui Chat was recorded and sanctioned for his painting exhibition is quite surprising.
“This is an unprecedented case. If you rely on Decree 38 to just fine Bui Chat 25 million and force the destruction of exhibits called to “remediate the consequences”, I am afraid that there is something excessive here. .
“Just because the exhibition does not ask for permission, that the state imposes such a penalty, one can ask the question: are the works in that exhibition “problematic”?
“Can 29 abstract works arbitrarily deduce their content?
“I don’t think Bui Chat’s paintings have any political connotations or political attitudes. Perhaps we should also note that Bui Chat was originally a poet, and his painting in an abstract way is what is important. which we can interpret as a hobby rather than a professional painter.
“Therefore, it is too much to fine you 25 million for a pleasure, let alone destroy the work as an “evidence” of wrongdoing, then I firmly believe that this incident will become a crime. become a historical event for cultural and artistic activities in Vietnam.
“I would like to add, the making of the minutes took place 3-4 days after the opening of the gallery, and the exhibition ended on July 30, but it was not until August 9 that Bui Chat was notified to receive it. sanctioning decision This is also a problem.
On personal Facebook, Poet Do Trung Quan pointed out that Decree 38 does not apply to fine art exhibitions, photography or display activities of works, artifacts, documents owned or legally used by organizations and individuals at the headquarters of the organization. organization or at the individual’s own home in activities of an internal nature.
“In short, in my opinion, with the act of ‘exhibiting without a license’ 29 paintings by artist Bui Chat, it cannot be sanctioned and destroyed according to current law provisions,” said artist Do. Trung Quan wrote.
Poet Ly Doi write on personal Facebook:
“In a little while, you will lose a national treasure.
“If applied according to the decision to sanction administrative violations against Bui Chat dated August 9, 2022 of the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in the past was at risk of losing many national treasures.
“The decision has forced Bui Chat to “destroy 29 paintings”, because “organizing exhibitions in Vietnam without a license”.
Look back at history. For example, the painting “Admission to the Party in Dien Bien Phu” by Nguyen Sang, was recognized as a National Treasure in the 2nd batch (2013). This painting has been unlicensed and has been exhibited several times without a permit. Fortunately, it was not forcibly destroyed, otherwise it would not have been half a century later recognized as a National Treasure.
“Or like Duong Bich Lien’s painting “Hao”, which was banned several times, the author was invited to write a revision many times, but fortunately it was not forced to destroy, otherwise Duong Bich Lien and Vietnamese modern art Nam has lost a masterpiece.
“If it is said that Bui Chat was “blacklisted”, leading to the destruction of his paintings, it is even more forced and unreasonable. Because in the past, the direct and indirect members of Nhan Nhan – Giai Phong all belonged to the group. “black book” or “very black book”, but what about the latter?
“Most of their works were re-appeared, many were given street names, were awarded the HCM Prize, the National Prize, etc. If in the past the destruction of works was also applied, then the awarding of the prizes in the future still makes sense. What does it mean, when the work is no longer available.
“A leader of the Vietnam Fine Arts Association (temporarily anonymous) said that the decision to destroy paintings is unprecedented in Vietnam since 1975 until now.
“From some historical data as mentioned above, it can be seen that the decision that Bui Chat is facing is a decision that reverses the civilization, modernity, fairness and democracy that the whole administration is aiming for. next.
“It also worsens the image of a rule-of-law society, wanting to uphold the law that Vietnam is trying to achieve.
Painter Luong Luu Bien write on personal Facebook:
“Censorship! Destroying 29 paintings” in Bui Chat’s exhibition (the exhibition ended).
If there is no mistake, this is an amazing decision to sanction. Abstract paintings have any content to deduce types?
“In the past, it was only banned to hang, but now it’s destroyed. It’s unacceptable!”