Huong Dodinh Biography

Huong Dodinh is a French-Vietnamese artist who, from the late 1960s, developed her own meditative interpretation of minimalist abstraction. Her decades-long quest for purity and light went largely under-appreciated until the 2020s.

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Early Years

Born in Soc Trang, Vietnam, the first Indochina War drove Dodinh and her family to flee to Paris when she was eight. Paris has become her home city, where she still lives and works today.

At a boarding school in Rambouillet, Dodinh encountered snow for the first time. Witnessing the luminescent blending of land and sky was an experience that sparked Dodinh's enduring artistic interest in the close relationship between colour and light.

Dodinh studied at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris from 1965 to 1969. A three-year break followed as the violence of the Vietnam War and the May 1968 uprisings in Paris weighed heavily on her mind. Returning to her practice with a new sense of freedom, Dodinh focused privately on painting in the following decades. She encountered other France-based artists such as Joan Mitchell, Peter Matisse, and Lisa de Kooning, but only occasionally exhibited her own work in Paris.

Huong Dodinh Artworks

Made with thin coats of hand-made paint, Huong Dodinh's paintings comprise hand-drawn geometries on smooth, light-hued canvases. Precise and subtle tonal variations in her work create depth and luminous radiance.

Early Meditative Paintings

Throughout the 1970s and early 80s, the artist rarely showed her works. Initially painting figurative oil-on-canvas works, such as Portrait de jeune fille (1988), the artist began to experiment with more meditative abstractions.

Inspired by the techniques of traditional Vietnamese lacquer, Dodinh began layering multiple coats of paint on her canvases to create a depth that seemingly reflects light from within. In the lead up to her first major solo showing at Asia Now in 2021, the artist stated, 'for me colours serve to reveal light'. Light has been an enduring fascination through her work, with which she explores elements such as silence, line, and the void.

The artist incorporated the adhesive technique of marouflage to her canvases, and later wood boards, using mineral pigments and binding agents she made herself. Her experimentation brings her into the fold of the history of Minimalist art alongside figures like Robert Mangold, Lee Ufan, and Agnes Martin, among others.

Vietnam Works

In 1993, Dodinh made a series of works inspired by a trip back to the country of her birth. Made with coated paper mounted on wood panels, these works evoke personal memories of Vietnam's Ha Long Bay. In these works are faint visions of a shore line and black rocks rising in a sea of monotone.

K.A.

For more than 20 years, the artist has made series of work defined by clarity, transparency, and density. Among these are a large number of abstract works with the title prefix 'K.A.'. Examples from the 2000s such as K.A. 71 (2004), K.A. 77 (2005), and K.A. 94 (2007) all similarly feature coloured concentric circles, which the artist etches with precision by hand onto light-hued backgrounds.

Dodinh describes the production of these works as a meditative process, in which she transfers her inner emotions and perceptions of the world onto the canvas. 'The brush stroke is only the execution of a gesture relative to thought, so the thought is essential,' she explained in a 2021 interview for Asia Now.

Some of Dodinh's later 'K.A.' paintings from 2020 depart from the thin-lined, curvilinear compositions of the early 2000s. Works like K.A. 224 (2020), K.A. 227 (2020), and K.A. 235 (2020) feature faint, mostly straight lines, which cut across the canvas in a barely perceptible fashion.

Ascension

In 2022, Dodinh conceived a series of works for a site-specific installation for the MUVE Contemporaneo 2022 at the Museo Correr in Venice. Titled Ascension, the work comprised of 14 three-metre-high tapered panels arranged in a triangle surrounding the 15th-century sculpture Madonna della Misericordia in the Sala delle Quattro Porte.

The works, like candles, guide the viewer into a mystical atmosphere at the heart of the project.

Awards and Accolades

Dodinh has received several awards and high-profile accolades over the decades, including First Prize at the 1981 International Grand Prize for Painting in Cannes, the Silver Cross of Merit and French Dedication in 1996, and the Vice President Maison de la Culture d'Asie Orientale in 1997.

Exhibitions

Huong Dodinh has been the subject of both solo and group exhibitions.

Solo exhibitions include Huong Dodinh: Ascension, Museo Correr, Venice (2022); Huong Dodinh: A la Conquête de la Lumière, Guimet National Museum of Asian Arts, Paris (2021); Huong Dodinh, Chapelle Saint-Léonard, Croissy-sur-Seine (2008); Huong Dodinh, Grand Orient, Brussels (1999).

Group exhibitions include Triptyque, Angers (2010); Philippe de Croix / Huong Dodinh, FRAC de Champagne-Ardenne, Reims (1994); Salon d'Octobre, Brives (1989).

Michael Irwin | Ocula | 2022

Huong Dodinh
featured artworks

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Sans titre by Huong Dodinh contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Huong Dodinh Sans titre, 1990 Organic binders and natural pigments on paper mounted on wood
197.2 x 97 x 3.5 cm
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T 2 by Huong Dodinh contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Huong Dodinh T 2, 1992 Organic binders and natural pigments on paper mounted on wood
196 x 122 cm
Pace Gallery Request Price & Availability
Sans titre by Huong Dodinh contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Huong Dodinh Sans titre, 1990 Organic binders and natural pigments on paper mounted on wood
103.5 x 143 x 4 cm
Pace Gallery Request Price & Availability
Sans titre by Huong Dodinh contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Huong Dodinh Sans titre, 1989 Organic binders and natural pigments on paper mounted on wood
59.2 x 86.5 x 2.5 cm
Pace Gallery Request Price & Availability
K.A 264 by Huong Dodinh contemporary artwork painting
Huong Dodinh K.A 264, 2022 Organic binders and natural pigments on canvas mounted on wood
134 x 120 x 4 cm
Pace Gallery Request Price & Availability
K.A. 269 by Huong Dodinh contemporary artwork sculpture
Huong Dodinh K.A. 269, 2022 Organic binders and natural pigments on canvas mounted on wood
84 x 135 x 4 cm
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K.A 265 by Huong Dodinh contemporary artwork painting
Huong Dodinh K.A 265, 2022 Organic binders and natural pigments on canvas mounted on wood
134 x 120 x 4 cm
Pace Gallery Request Price & Availability
K.A. 229 by Huong Dodinh contemporary artwork painting
Huong Dodinh K.A. 229, 2020 Organic binders and natural pigments on canvas mounted on wood
106 x 106 cm
Pace Gallery
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Huong Dodinh
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Pace Gallery contemporary art gallery in 540 West 25th Street, New York, United States
Pace Gallery Hong Kong, Beijing, London, Los Angeles, New York +6

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