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Bao Vuong at A2Z Gallery

Bao Vuong Revisits the Crossing of a Lifetime at A2Z

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Bao Vuong unpacks the journey of fleeing Vietnam as a baby, 25 years later, in a cathartic release that takes the form of an exhibition called “The Crossing.” Open at the Parisian gallery A2Z through January 29, the artist has created an oceanic exploration of existentialism in which viewers can almost see themselves reflected off the surface of the artist’s textural painted seascapes.

Bao Vuong at A2Z Gallery

Bao Vuong, “The Crossing XLIV,” 2021, Oil, acrylic and golden leaves on canvas, 140 cm, private collection; courtesy of the artist and A2Z Gallery.

Making the trip wrapped in the arms of his mother at age one, Bao and 200 others spent the better part of a year at sea and in refugee camps in the late 1970s. Finally returning to his country of origin in adulthood, Bao took to unraveling the life-changing crossing by examining the sea which carried him and so many others, displaced by war.

Bao’s knife-painted compositions appear almost photographic at a glance, imagined in monochromatic layers of oil and acrylic, their precise combination of tone and texture capturing perfectly the glimmering effect of light on the water. Visions of endless water stir up waves of emotions and lingering memories. Realizing that the horizon is just within reach, the experience ends with a glimmer of hope for better things to come—exemplified through scenes a human-shaped mountain range detected in the distance, a full moon rising over the choppy sea, and a circular composition that makes us imagine the rhythmic sound of the waves rolling by.

Bao Vuong at A2Z Gallery

Bao Vuong, “The Crossing – Mère”, 2021, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 100 x 100 cm; courtesy of the artist and A2Z Gallery.

Bao Vuong at A2Z Gallery

Bao Vuong, “The Crossing LX,” 2021, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 180 x 180 cm; courtesy of the artist and A2Z Gallery.

Bao Vuong at A2Z Gallery

Bao Vuong, “The Crossing LIII”, 2021 huile et acrylique sur toile 97 x 162 cm; courtesy of the artist and A2Z Gallery.

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Kelly Wearstler

THE WINTER EXPERIENCE ISSUE
2023

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