“Heafod” Exhibition – Examining Human Obsession

A unique and creative exploration of the personal world of renowned contemporary Vietnamese artist is now on display at an exhibition.


The Vietnam National Fine Arts Museum in Hanoi is currently hosting the fourth solo exhibition of esteemed Vietnamese artist Nguyen Ngoc Phuong. Entitled “Heafod”, this captivating exhibition will be open to the public until July 31.

The exhibition, titled “Heafod,” is on display at the Vietnam National Fine Arts Museum until July 31. Photo courtesy of the museum

The exhibition showcases a collection of 19 of Nguyen Ngoc Phuong’s latest works, providing a thought-provoking exploration into the complexity of the human soul, disinterest and/or ontological uncertainty, and existential anguish.

According to esteemed art critics, “The Heafod” is a pivotal work in Phuong’s innovative approach to visual art. Her paintings intricately combine spontaneous and deliberate elements, resulting in a captivating interplay of accidental and purposeful marks. These marks evolve over time, gaining intensity and intention akin to scratches and cuts on the skin.

The Heafod Exhibition

Experience the captivating artworks of “The Heafod” exhibition. Each piece on display carries the same title, representing the central theme of the event. Through skillful brushstrokes and internal impulses, the ground and surface of the paintings merge harmoniously, generating a profound interaction and catalytic effect on the viewer. The human silhouettes gracefully fade into the backgrounds, leaving only the heads as the focal point of these mesmerizing artworks.

“The artist shared that the series ‘Cai Dau’ (The Heafod) has been a passion project for over a decade, driven by the artist’s deep contemplation of the human condition,” proclaimed the artist.

Visitors to the exhibition of painter Pham Ngoc Phuong. Photo: Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts

According to artist Yen Nang, when examining Phuong’s series created over the past decade, which explore various mediums and ideas, it becomes evident that the common thread among all the ‘heafod’ pieces is their lack of distinct perception, with the exception of their striking tactile surfaces.

“They appear to exhibit cracks, bulging due to internal pressure, and are subject to compression from the weight and tension that poses a risk of tearing them apart,” he explained.

According to Nang, the portrayal of anger in The Heafod series reflects the artist’s inner emotions and conveys the current societal reality through his facial expressions in the artwork.

Nguyễn Ngọc-Phương’s recent works showcase his artistry and creativity, utilizing an array of materials such as lacquer, synthetic adhesives, gold and silver leaf, as well as various types of rock deposits, soapstone, and colluvial soil. His innovative approach to art has led him to create a unique medium, named after himself, that perfectly aligns with his artistic vision and style.

 A corner of the exhibition. Photo courtesy of the museum

Nguyen Ngoc Phuong, born in 1975 in Hanoi, is an accomplished artist with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the prestigious Hanoi University of Industrial Fine Arts. He furthered his education by obtaining a Master of Arts from the esteemed Vietnam University of Fine Arts. Throughout his artistic journey, Nguyen Ngoc Phuong has showcased his talent through a variety of artistic styles. Initially, he honed his skills in semi-abstract works before transitioning gracefully to abstract art.

Nguyen Ngoc Phuong is a renowned artist with an impressive exhibition history. Notably, he has held solo exhibitions at prestigious venues such as the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum, showcasing his thought-provoking works like “The 49th Day” – Parts 1 and 2 in 2018, and “Niem” or Opinion in 2021. Furthermore, Nguyen’s talent has been recognized beyond his home country, as his artwork has been displayed in esteemed galleries and museums across Southeast Asia, including Yogia Gallery in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and Penang State Art Gallery in Penang, Malaysia, among others.