Hoi An-based artist Nguyen Quoc Dan, a pursuer of non-cubism digital painting, has recently realised an art project of many elements. Called Internal Energy, the works are mainly arranged along Hoi An Beach,

 introduced on Facebook and will be kept there for a long time. Dan considers the project a way to contribute positive energy during the COVID-19 pandemic. He talks with Nhu Ha about Internal Energy.

Artist Nguyen Quoc Dan. Photo thethaovanhoa.vn

How did the idea of the visual sculpture entitled Internal Energy come to you?
In the art form that I temporarily call “visual sculpture”, besides good ideas and theoretical basis, appropriate spatial, temporal and environmental elements are crucial factors to stimulate working.
In the context that the whole world is suffering from the pandemic and resisting the negative energy of a virus, I tried finding the internal energy of my own as well as of little creatures and objects that have been taken for granted.
Therefore, I expect the audience to perceive the images evoked by garbage or discarded items from afar instead of directly viewing or touching the works. During the social distancing period, I have become more motivated to realise the idea for visual sculpture Internal Energy that I have been nurturing for a long time.
Why do you usually have your works displayed at Hoi An Beach?
Hoi An ancient town is quite small but its potential for international influence is significant. Hoi An’s coast is beautiful but the amount of waste along its shores has a huge impact on the environment. In addition, the town now welcomes many creative artists working in different fields from across the world. I want to take this opportunity to inspire everyone and deliver a message that Hoi An Beach is already beautiful, but it would be much better if we could make the waste there disappear or turn it into works of art.
Why do you prioritise sharing your works on Facebook after finishing them?
For me, art must first originate from my own internal needs, and sharing is also a need. I might be very “hyperactive” on the outside but inside me is a tormented mind that needs to be shared.
Probably due to that, I prefer to post photos of my works on Facebook so that my friends and other viewers can share to increase the positive energy for myself and others if they find them interesting. In this difficult period, exhibitions on Facebook are also reasonable and safe.

The work number 39 in the project Internal Energy, created from discarded plastic. Photo Quoc Dan Nguyen Facebook

In terms of visual ratio, why do you enlarge small objects from garbage while making humans small in your works?
The world is big while humans are small. However, it might be easier to embrace the whole world rather than human’s souls, because we humans have so many great ambitions. Therefore, it is often difficult for us to take some time to contemplate the discarded or little things.
I want to zoom in on small objects to create a visual mutation, causing senses of suspicion, confusion or curiosity, from which humans will ultimately realise we are also small creatures in life and in the world. People tend to fear things bigger and more intelligent than us, so now let’s try to fear smaller things.
As an artist living amid a pandemic and social distancing, how do you feel? Has it affected your creativity?
Each of us is a warrior on every front of everyday life, not only on the battlefield. We are always ready to “go to war” to contribute to the common development of humanity and of all things. So am I. I fight with experiences of creativity. I want to indirectly resist the dangerous and negative energy caused by COVID-19 by inspiring friends on the internet to think about positivity by safe actions and motivations.
Viewed from another perspective, humans and all things are like those little viruses in the vast universe. If the internal energy is positive and balanced, all things will be beautiful and naturally developing. On the other hand, if the negative internal energy overwhelms, contrary to natural development, then the “civil war” in all things will break out, affecting the balance of survival.
I believe that humans and life always have a hidden positive energy. As long as we’re in an appropriate environment, that inner energy will be transformed and life will revive strongly and beautifully. VNS

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