HERBELIN, Caroline Bich-Lien
Social Coexistence・Guest Research Associate
Research Interests / Keywords
Art History, Cultural exchanges, Material culture
|Vietnamese court painting 1859-1924|
The creation of the School of Fine Arts of Indochina in 1924 is often considered as the birth of modern painting in Vietnam. The school was designed to create a local take on modern art by introducing “western” techniques while keeping Vietnamese characteristics. Yet the painting practiced before this time, usually qualified as “folk” or “traditional” painting, cannot be understood through these categories. A study of this period shows that the literati who practiced painting as one of the classical arts interacted with the colonizers during early French colonization to a much larger degree than has been acknowledged. Whether through the themes depicted or through the techniques used, the works of this period show subtle but real changes. Looking at the evolution of Vietnamese painting during this period, especially in paintings representing the Nguyen court, I propose to rethink modernity in Vietnamese art. Usually ascribed to the West, modernity at the beginnings of colonization was constructed from diverse influences, which must be reconceptualized within a framework of aesthetic practices. Such practices were situated in a precise social context and do not correspond to the Fine Arts as they were defined in the West.