Painter from Hanoi Displays Upsidedownism Art in their Hometown

Nguyen Dai Giang's unique artistic style of "reverse art" provides a creative and thought-provoking look at life in Hanoi.


The latest solo exhibition by renowned artist Nguyen Dai Giang, titled “Origin,” showcases the captivating Upsidedownism technique, bringing his art to the public once again in the heart of the capital city.

Experience the captivating world of Upsidedownism through our exhibition, featuring 32 exquisite paintings. Explore intricate depictions of life, culture, zodiac animals, and portraits of esteemed writers and artists. This extraordinary collection invites viewers on a journey into the artist’s unique creation. Join us and immerse yourself in the realm of Upsidedownism. The exhibition opened on October 15th, don’t miss out on this remarkable showcase.

Painter Nguyen Dai Giang presents the Perfume Pagoda Festival painting. Photo: Ngo Minh/The Hanoi Times

The artwork in question exhibits a unique blend of artistic expression and surrealism, challenging traditional anatomical norms. Despite these unconventional aspects, there remains a sense of familiarity within the depicted realities. It is noteworthy that viewers can easily recognize subjects such as the musician Trinh Cong Son, the painter Bui Xuan Phai, the writer Nguyen Quang Thieu, and the writer Bao Ninh, despite the artistic liberties taken.

Giang believes that every person’s life is a unique combination of both positive and negative experiences. She recognizes that change is a constant in life, but understands that the beginning and end hold a certain level of similarity. This perspective forms the foundation of the art of inversion – the ability to create artwork that encompasses both righteousness and wrongdoing while still capturing the true essence of beauty and reality.

 Ca tru (ceremonial singing) in Hanoi.

“The artist utilizes the concept of Upsidedownism to infuse their work with freshness, humor, and cleverness. Notably, in their portraits, they playfully position the mouth on the forehead, symbolizing the potential consequences that can arise from careless speech. This artistic choice serves as a reminder for the viewers to exercise wisdom and prudence before communicating. Additionally, the artist positions the nose facing upwards, emphasizing the importance of inhaling pure and revitalizing air. Furthermore, their placement of the eyes beneath the chin encourages individuals to embrace humility. Through these imaginative and thought-provoking techniques, the artist strives to impart insightful and engaging messages within their artwork.”

Giang currently resides in the United States, however, he is soon to make his way back to his home country. This solo performance serves as a prelude to his upcoming return.

The exhibition showcases a remarkable masterpiece known as “Birth, Aging, Disease, Death, Birth”. Measuring an impressive 205 by 552 cm, this painting eloquently encapsulates the profound cycle of human life, embodying the artist’s key message. Feel free to explore this captivating work firsthand.

“Falling leaves find solace in their roots. Throughout the years, I have perennially sought solace in my homeland. Although there may not be a specific artwork titled ‘Origin’ in this exhibition, the exhibition in its entirety serves as the embodiment of origin for me. It captures the visages of revered writers and artists, immortalizes cultural activities, and showcases beloved culinary delights such as the Hanoi specialties of pork roll and Bun cha.” The artist divulged this intimate sentiment.

 Making gio cha (pork roll) in Hanoi.

He stated that in order to practice art in the United States, he had to adhere to rigorous regulations governing copyright and professional ethics. He was successfully granted copyright for his unique Upsidedownism art, allowing him to showcase and present his paintings globally. The artist expressed his immense satisfaction in the fact that, through his work, Vietnamese national art has made a significant impact on the advancement of the global art scene.

Commenting on Nguyen Dai Giang’s art, sculptor Ta Quang Bao stated, “An artist’s lasting reputation is built upon the works they leave behind as the years go by. The value of a person is derived from their labor, and Giang has successfully found his own unique artistic path within the industry. Through his creations, he firmly stands out, showcasing his individuality and artistic personality. This is truly remarkable.”

Artist Nguyen Dai Giang Biography

Nguyen Dai Giang, a renowned artist, was born in Hanoi, Vietnam, in 1944. He pursued his passion for art by studying graphics at the prestigious Moscow School of Industrial Fine Arts in Russia from 1969 to 1974. In 1996-1997, he further honed his skills in graphics by attending a program in Seattle.

Over the course of his artistic career, he has actively participated in numerous international exhibitions and has curated several domestic exhibitions, including those held in Ho Chi Minh City in 2009, Hanoi in 2014 and 2018, Hue in 2016, and Danang in 2018. His exceptional paintings have garnered prestigious accolades globally and are prominently displayed in art collections across various countries, including Japan, Russia, Canada, USA, Belgium, France, Spain, and more.

“The Origin exhibition will be held at Exhibition House from now until October 22. The venue is located at 29 Hang Bai, Hanoi.”