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German artist showcases royal ‘ao dai’ in installation artwork in Vietnam

German artist showcases royal ‘ao dai’ in installation artwork in Vietnam

Thursday, January 15, 2015, 09:45 GMT+7

A German artist will highlight a collection of royal “ao dai” (traditional Vietnamese long gown) in her gorgeous installation works at an exhibition scheduled to open on Friday.

Veronika Witte, a German artist, is going to accentuate the charms and historical values of an assortment of royal “ao dai” during the “Das prachtvolle Gelb läuft über blasse Blätter” (roughly translated as “The Royal Costumes on Green Leaves”) art exhibit in Hanoi.  

The event will be organized at the Goethe Institut Hanoi, at 56-58 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Ba Dinh District, from Friday until January 31.

The “ao dai” come from an assemblage of traditional gowns collected by Thai Kim Lan, a local researcher on German culture.

The outfits were worn by the queens and royal members in Hue, Vietnam’s imperial capital, located in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue.

The garments will be embedded in an elaborate multimedia installation space, adorned with elements of daily life.

The costumes will also be featured in a video performance on eight screens.

Different stories of the “ao dai,” regarding their owners, as well as how and when they were used and maintained, will also be shared at the two-week exhibition.

According to the Goethe Institut Hanoi, Veronika Witte has been working in Berlin since 1998 in different areas including sculpture, video and scenic installations and always tries to blur the lines between visual arts, music and opera.

She has received awards and grants in Israel, France and Germany, among other countries.

Her scenic installations and performances have been displayed at museums and galleries in several countries.

Meanwhile, Thai Kim Lan was born in Hue and studied philosophy and German both at home and in Germany, according to the Goethe Institut Hanoi.

In 1976 she earned her PhD in philosophy at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, a university located in the heart of  Munich, and taught there until 2007 as a private lecturer in comparative philosophy.

Lan has also taught in Ho Chi Minh City and Hue since 1994.

Besides her publications on philosophy, Lan has written cook books, essays and poems and translated texts of German authors and poets.

Poems from her own bilingual anthology titled “In einem kälteren Land – Lanh hon xu minh” (In a Colder Country) claimed prizes in both Germany and Vietnam.

The name of the upcoming Hanoi exhibition is a line from one of Lan's poems.

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