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“The Shadows” is a series of wooden chairs and benches that have been transformed into fabled, mythical animals. Phuc Van Dang’s distinctive black line street art is repeated in the chair design, which invites function, allegory, and reflection. The furniture concept adds a new dimension to street art and the interior design of the public space.
Mythical animals grow out of Van Dang’s sharp line; creatures that in silhouettes give glimpses of reflections on the real and unreal, where humans and nature meet and merge into characters of emotion. The furniture design transforms the artwork as light falls on it and creates a shadow dimension that is in perpetual motion. Light and shadow create life and dynamism, and, thus, the furniture is not just a chair, but a living character with a narrative and a sensuality that changes the experience of sitting.
“The Mermaid” and “The Kentaur” make up part of a furniture concept for both outdoor and indoor use. A unique and elegant furniture concept, which, at the same time, has lots of soul and history. Possible locations include: urban spaces, parks, private, businesses, municipalities, etc. All in all, the places where one needs to appreciate art, design, crafts, and sustainable materials.
Ashwood, Linseed Oil Paint
Phuc Van Dang was born in Vietnam and came to Denmark in 1981. He studied graphic design and has worked with design, concept- and product development. Today he utilizes this background in his diverse work as an artist, where he explores themes such as identity, belonging, human nature and community engagement, and as a cultural facilitator he creates new connections between art, design and communication. He has exhibited both in Denmark and abroad: Norway, Japan, Spain, USA, Vietnam, Cambodia. In addition, he has participated in live painting at music festivals, street art festivals, Fashion Week and various events.
Over a course of several years, he has worked with the black line, and he uses only black paint in his murals and paintings. However, this limited colour choice is not a reduction, but an intensification. Uninflected with brushstrokes or colour variation, the black paint is dense and saturated, and his almost meditative focus while working with a can of black paint and a single brush becomes a vision of being present in the moment. The black line can be seen as an interpretation of the shadows in life, within a shadow lies the past, the present and the future. His work is a fusion of painting and design, and he portrays human conditions, emotions and nature through visual fables, finding balance between the abstract and the image.
He creates workshops for children in schools as well as art museums, during art festivals and in different communities or projects both in Denmark and abroad. His workshops engage children in art experiences and storytelling, which encourages problem solving, critical thinking, confidence and creative skills and initiates conversations and deeper reflections. During his workshops, he focuses on storytelling as a means to let children immerse themselves into the process of creating art.
He often enters into collaborative projects with different brands e.g. in the fashion or retail industries or within the media. There is a freedom in these collaborations, enabling him to add new value to products and reach a broader audience with his work. He believes in the diversity of art and its flexibility and adaptability, and by collaborating with retail brands, he bridges the gap between art, design and commercial products and enters into dialogues with new objects and aesthetics while maintaining his own identity and visual expression.
The body of work in this collection consists of pieces by Greek designers of the mainland and the diaspora, or international professionals who live and work in Greece. As a common theme we tackle the elusive notion of “Greekness” and how this transpires through the work of seemingly diverse and distinct individuals. In our attempt to define “Greekness”, we aim to raise questions about how this plays out in the work presented.
How do Greek designers view their identity? Is it through their effort to decipher their heavy heritage? Is form important in order to achieve a predisposed classic elegance, or is a philosophical disposition towards shape more poignant? Could it be simply a resourcefulness and DIY ethic to make up for the absence of design infrastructure?
How do Greek designers based abroad deal with their background? Could it be that they simply ignore it in order to finally free themselves? Is there a certain amount of innovation necessary in order to channel it into the new environment?
Finally, how do foreign designers see their work influenced by their Greek surroundings? Is it the reference through the use of noble materials such as marble or the abundance of natural light that makes their work unquestionably Greek? Or could it be something else they were seeking when they decided to move here, something abstract like humour or drama? Could their arrival finally mean a departure from Greek heritage’s self-reference?
The pieces that we present might seem ill-matched, but they share an important core element. They are confident in their narrative of a personal story of identity, that is either at peace or against the Greek archetype. Through this communication, they all describe a culturally mature and vibrant scene that is finally extroverted and coming of age.
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