Truong Tan, Wedding Dress, 2003. Solo installation and performance, Nha San Studio, Hanoi. Metal chains, wires, fabric, dimensions variable. Photo: Nguyen Manh Duc
Nha San Studio’s mission is to build a stable structure for contemporary art to grow in Vietnam. Founded in 1998, it is the longest-running experimental art space in the country. The studio has nurtured several generations of Vietnam’s most imaginative and courageous contemporary artists.
Since its inception, Nha San has become a nexus for international art exchange, hosting lectures and workshops, and exhibiting sound, video, installation, and performance art. It connects local artists with opportunities for exchange abroad, and also hosts international projects in Vietnam.
The studio, a Muong ethnic minority house on stilts, was transplanted from the mountains to the outskirts of Hanoi. Nha San opens intermittently out of a family home that doubles as the showroom for an antiques business. Distinct from the loaded pedagogy of the Hanoi Fine Arts University, and a refuge from the pressures of a swelling and collapsing commercial market that relies mainly on tourist dollars, Nha San operates below the radar of strict government censorship and cultural expectations of public exhibitions. In this in-between space, Nha San makes room for new forms of expression to thrive in Vietnam, and for a small but powerful band of artists to exist.