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Artists reframe integrity issue

The capital city’s artisans, painters, and fine arts critics gathered on Wednesday in Ha Noi, raising their voices against the overtrading of phoney paintings as well as the boom-up of profit-oriented galleries, which is giving them a big headache.

The market economy has paved ways for the fast expansion of galleries across the country, especially in big cities.

It should have been a positive kick-off for the development of the country’s contemporary fine arts, said Ngo Quang Nam, head of the Ministry of Culture and Information’s (MoCI) Fine Arts Department. But instead, the creation of more galleries has enabled the circulation of fake art, which hurts the art scene.

The reproductions range from classic art such as Van Gogh, to more recent and well-known contemporary works by Vietnamese painters, such as Bui Xuan Phai, Tran Van Can, and To Ngoc Van.

Nam told Wednesday’s Gallery and Fine Arts Collectors seminar, which was attended by numerous artisans, painters, gallery owners, critics, and mass media that the growth of commercial-oriented galleries not only depreciates values of original paintings, but also affects the operation of well-performing galleries who stock the real works of art.

"These galleries do not work for the sake of the art." said Bui Nhu Huong, a fine arts critic. "It is saddening that some gallery owners have hired young artists to repaint pictures of well-known painters in an attempt to break the monopoly of other galleries."

The seminar raised concern in general over the development of a well-operating fine arts market in Viet Nam, which may give a negative impression to foreigners, among other repercussions. Another issue is the failure of gallery owners to critically examine the art they choose to display.

Some suggested that painters and gallery owners should cooperate with foreign counterparts to open galleries or painting shows abroad, in an effort to learn from more legitimate art operations.

The seminar was held in the Ha Noi-based Nikko Hotel and organised by the MoCI, and comes on the heals of the earlier seminar of same type held in HCM City last June.

The activity aims to collect opinions of concerned individuals and organisations over the ongoing development of the country’s fine arts operations as well as solutions to root out such weaknesses.

Reprinted with permission of VietNam News Agency.


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