ClockThursday, 05/10/2023 08:53

Rice fields tell stories about art

TTH.VN - The rice grains sown in a field tells a historical story, the healing of the pain of the past and reminds young people of the importance of food in modern life. The artists have created an artwork about the process from sowing to harvesting by making an art video with country music background.

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Artist Le Duc Hai 

Those artists named their artwork very familiar and sincere: “We grow rice together”. That was a rice pad in the middle of a rich rice field in the lowlands of the Huong River, Phu Mau Commune, Hue City. The artwork was done by Le Brothers artists – Le Duc Hai, Le Ngoc Thanh, and Gemini Kim, a Korean artist.

Standing in the middle of a bright yellow field preparing to be harvested, artist Le Duc Hai shared: “A lot of people are surprised and didn’t know what we are doing. We believe that artists need to betake to create art. A lot of materials are available to compose. With this project, although the new thing is not in the type of creating, the way of creating is quite novel, especially from the approach. Moreover, that is the sympathy and harmony between Le Bothers and Gemini Kim”.

What took you and pushed you to carry out this project, which was seemingly interesting but also full of doubt and ambiguity?

That’s right, if people just know us through what we post on social networks every day, it’s no surprise that they cannot understand what we are doing. The story started from 2019, when Le Brothers visited an art center in Korea to make exhibition and had a chance to meet Gemini Kim. No longer after that, we invited Gemini Kim to Hue to stay and do the work of composing. Right after our invitation spoken out, Gemini Kim said yes, and when we asked that what he wanted to do, he said immediately: Growing rice.

It seemed to be a little bit digressive, but Le Brothers respected all opinions and thoughts because art had many ways to express. “We agree!”

The art of… growing rice, it’s really enigmatic?

That was really a long story, starting from Gemini Kim. Previously, he worked in freight transportation service. One day, he realized that finally, he would get old and clearly felt that happiness just came from making art. He quit his job and took all money he had saved to England to study contemporary art. Coming back to Korea, he spent all time on composing.

Although he has composed in many genres, Gemini’s wish to come to Vietnam to make art video to express the process of growing rice is always in his mind. The rice in him is a long story, something unfinished that must be done on behalf of his father.

Is there any inconsistence between rice and Gemini Kim’s unfinished business?

In the past, the father of Gemini Kim participated in a war in Vietnam as an information soldier. Every time reminding that, he felt guilty and regretful. Each time, he told that to his son – Gemini Kim. Touched by his father’s regret, Gemini Kim always hoped that someday, he could come to Vietnam to apologize in place of his father by an artwork.

 The rice field chosen by Le Brothers and the Korean artist Gemini Kim to implement the project

Together with Le Brothers, how was the artwork from rice planned?

In 2019, Gemini Kim came to the composing space of Le Brother with some varieties of rice. Initially, he sowed in each small pots. However, due to complex factors such as climate, soil and the lack of experiences in taking care, the work of sowing and filming the artwork failed.

Not feeling discouraged, he determined to do it again. However, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, up to early 2023, he came back to Hue and together with Le Brothers made a systematic plan, and played “a big game”.

All three of us went to a rice growing area located at the lowlands of the Huong River, in Phu Mau commune. Here, after a time of surveying, hiring 1.5 hectares of land from the farmers, as well as receiving local support, we decided to carry out the project.

We did the field work like a real farmer. From preparing the land, irrigating the field, renting machinery to plow, sow and take care of it properly. The sown rice included 2kg of seed cherished by Gemini Kim, which was brought from Korea and a few rice varieties of local people, they were mixed together to... create the work.

Did people of rice-growing areas say you guys are "mad"?

(Laugh out loud)! At first, when they saw us drive to the field by car and express our wishes, the people here cheered and thought it was a joke. “In these days, what did these 3 strange artists go by car to the field and ask to plant rice for?” Everyone was wondering and skeptical.

Then we calmly talked about the idea, about Gemini Kim's wishes and the work that we wanted to create. Hearing that, people enthusiastically helped and supported the creation phases in the rice field.

How about the process of growing rice and creating video art?

We took the part of true farmers. We carried out all tasks and stages from sowing to harvesting in a methodical and serious way. All of those stages were recorded by us in detail in the video art.

That process took a full 90 days. Every day, artists and volunteers visit the rice field, take photos and update them on the artist and group's pages - it is a long and arduous process for all participating members.

This process was made into a short film, about 10 minutes long. In there, important moments were recorded at many angles, from the moment that the seeds were sprouting until the rice plants grew, bloomed, produced seeds, ripened, and came to the stage of harvesting, etc.

The film also used music intentionally recorded from Vietnamese country songs through renewed support from an artist in Hanoi.

What was the important thing you wanted to send to people from this work?

There is nothing more than sympathy and sharing through the images of rice. Rice is the food that we eat, absorb and it brings us life every day. Therefore, at the end of this project, we will cook a meal to "entertain" those who helped the project as a sincere thanks.

A little rice will be brought back to Korea by Gemini Kim. A little more will be kept by us to create the installation arts in the future. And a little left over, we will make gifts to give to everyone.

And about the video art, when will it be released and what is the message of that product?

The product is currently being introduced to the public through the exhibition in Busan, Korea.

We have had many conversations and sharing sessions with the young people. What saddened us was that the young generation almost forgets the daily realities they have to go through. Many young people forget about rice, even though their relatives work in the fields and they eat rice every day. Through this project, we also want to consider it a reminder to young people that they are to better understand rice.

Sincerely thank you!

By Nhat Minh
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