AN NINH THU DO – "WEIRD AND HUMOUR" by Pham Thu Huong – Sep 21st, 2009

Enter the Fantasy World of Fabien Verschaere: at his current solo exhibition at The Bui Gallery, people seem to step into his world. Fabien paints as simply as one would eat, sleep or carry out their daily routine. His first experience in Hanoi inspire him to create his new series.

That’s Fabien’s art: weird, chaotic, both tragic and comical. In his world, people are led to look at reality via curious symbols such as a computer with an X on the screen or funny clowns. It is only when he puts his hand on the canvas that the idea for the artwork begins to flow: it is just up to his inspiration. It can be in the center, or even from one corner spreading over the whole canvas, images connect together, one by one, thus the audiences are supposed to concentrate on every detail of the drawing to find out and understand the story. When drawing, he turns up the volume of the music, whistles along to the melodies, and applies his passion to the canvas. He seems to create an intimate world of his own, where he is alone, and... draws. The thirteen drawings are a mixture of pop, " chaotic " and baroque that reveals his inner thoughts.

His drawings on Hanoi are mostly about the Vietnamese people he met here. One little girl dropping by the Gallery, or a Vietnamese lass with silky black long hair, charming and humble. In order to include some Vietnamese features in his works, he asked the Bui Gallery staff to write down some Vietnamese characters, which he then drew. It is easy to see in the wall painting an emerging HANOI in the midst of other images.

You usually use the black monotone on plain white canvas, do you? But in this exhibition, you seem to prefer the red tone?

Every exhibition I did was always linked to the host and its history. In Hanoi, I have tried to mix the daily life of the city, Vietnamese people and their culture, with my imagination. I took the red from the Vietnamese flag for the background, and the yellow for the details in my story.

Is your nonconformist universe linked to an extraordinary destiny?

I was nearly dead several times. My childhood was spent in the hospital. I met the patients, and I was one of them. Then I started drawing their dreams and nightmares, even mine. Until I was 15, I collected them-the petty drawings on a large-sized canvas. I studied and graduated from the School of Fine Arts in Paris and School of Contemporary Arts in Nantes. I have pursued this style ever since.

You are going to have a lecture with the students at the Vietnam University of Fine Arts, could you reveal some items of its content?

International arts comprise many matters while Vietnamese Fine Arts students somehow seem to ignore that there are art movements, art trends, art markets. I will talk about those subjects through some stories about my life and art.

What are your upcoming projects after Hanoi?

Singapore will be my next destination. Then, another exhibition in France in October and in Ukraine at the end of the month, it’s an international contemporary art fair in Kiev.

Thank you so much for the conversation!

Article by journalist Pham Thu Huong on Newspaper An Ninh Thu Do, issued on September 21st, 2009