The world of art in Hanoi unfolding inside a French villa © Jeon Haein

Center of Hanoi Art Scene, Manzi Art Space
Manzi Art Space is a gallery-cafe playing an unequaled role as a space dedicated to culture and art in Hanoi, Vietnam. It leads the art scene of Hanoi by curating great artworks that inspire art lovers, and discovering and sponsoring new, talented artists.
In a small alley lit by the gentle sunshine of early summer, in a corner of the most ‘ordinary’ town—life’s battleground at times and a haven at others—a humble metal sign is hung on one side. It is where Manzi Art Space, a center of Vietnamese contemporary art and Hanoi art scene, stands. Ten years have passed since the institution found home in a French villa that was built in the 1930s architectural style and is now showing traces of time. As if to gently tell us that there should be no thick barriers or high thresholds between our daily lives and art, Manzi sits most naturally and quietly in this modest town, serving as a passage through which life and art come and go.
고즈넉한 거리 한켠에 소박하게 자리 잡은 만지 아트 스페이스 © 전혜인

고즈넉한 거리 한켠에 소박하게 자리 잡은 만지 아트 스페이스 © 전혜인

Manzi Art Space, on the corner of a quiet street © Jeon Haein

“Art is our past, present, and future.”
Manzi Art Space
만지 전시관에서 작품을 관람하는 관람객들 © 전혜인

Visitors at Manzi Exhibition Space © Jeon Haein

Manzi Art Space is a culture and art complex established by art lover and director Tram Vu who envisioned the renaissance of Vietnamese contemporary art and expansion of the power of art. It organizes exhibitions and sales of works by Hanoi-based artists including paintings, sculptures, and photographs. It also actively hosts concerts and contemporary dance performances, and arranges art lectures, workshops, book talks, and movie screenings. Not only does it offer a space where local artists, intellects, and social activists can work together, it also contributes greatly to the global culture exchange through which the local culture meets diversity. Manzi takes interest in everything regarding contemporary art. It is especially aggressive in discovering new talents and their works. One of the long-term goals of Manzi is to foster young artists for the new era and sponsor them so that they can continue their experimental creations.
만지 아트 스페이스에서는 느슨함의 미덕이 깃든 ‘해방적인’ 예술 여행이 우리를 반긴다. © 전혜인

Loose and ‘liberating’ artworks will greet you at Manzi Art Space. © Jeon Haein

First Journey: Crossing the Border Between Art and Daily Life
There are numerous ‘galleries’ in the world. Then there are even more ‘cafes.’ Enter Manzi. It’s a ‘gallery’ and ‘cafe’. An art gallery presenting hundreds of contemporary artworks by renowned Vietnamese artists and a cafe where people freely engage with each other over drinks exist harmoniously in one space without any barriers. 
Some visit Manzi to see art, while others simply seek for good coffee in the same venue. It is possible that someone might stay at Manzi for a cup of tea with a friend, stumble upon a captivating artwork, and end up becoming an art fan. Manzi is a magical ‘gateway’ that has led many souls into the world of art.
문턱을 낮춘 갤러리에서 진정한 소통이 시작된다. © 전혜인

The easily accessible gallery sets the stage for open communication. © Jeon Haein

갤러리에는 작품 사진과 해설, 판매 가격이 기재된 도록이 준비되어 있다. © 전혜인

At the gallery, you’ll find brochures with photos of the works on display, their background information and prices. © Jeon Haein

커피를 마시며 작품을 감상한다. © 전혜인

Enjoy art while sipping coffee. © Jeon Haein

It’s a space where two different establishments create an excellent synergy despite their different goals, bringing art and daily life closer. The wall between artists and the public is brought down. A cafe customer suddenly becomes an art spectator, and the spectator becomes part of the art and a sponsor of rising artists by buying the art. The entire process then inspires artists, completing a beautiful cycle unique to Manzi.
인투 신 에어 프로젝트 © 만지 아트 스페이스

Into Thin Air project © Manzi Art Space

Second Journey: Art That Left Home, ‘Into Thin Air’ Project
Manzi launched an ambitious project on the theme of public spaces in 2016. It is a long-term project aimed at giving the public a fresh perspective on public spaces by bringing in contemporary art and reminding the public of the importance of public spaces. The project is dubbed ‘Into Thin Air.’
“A public space is a space that does not belong to anyone, but at the same time, to all. It is a site that doesn’t just hold its inhabitants’ history and memory, but also reflects their personal and collective identity.”
From ‘Into Thin Air’ project concept
When we pass by a familiar place, we take the space for granted and often forget our memories and special meanings linked to the space. This project is a bold attempt to show the limitless potentials public spaces in a city have with the help of artists from various genres. 
The ‘Into Thin Air’ project transforms public spaces which serve as the daily living spaces for the public into an art stage by taking art outside of its ‘comfort zones’ such as museums or galleries, where art is supposed to be in a traditional sense, and onto public spaces. Every artist participating in the project intervenes in public spaces of Hanoi that have a daily, personal, local, or historic significance by adding an artistic narrative to the spaces. Sometimes the topic is decided in consideration of the historical, political, and social characteristics of Hanoi.
지프 자동차의 바퀴를 거북이로 바꾼 유머러스한 작품 © 만지 아트 스페이스

The witty piece of work has a Jeep trading in wheels for turtles © Manzi Art Space

‘Into the air 2’ 애플리케이션으로 작품을 감상 한다. © 만지 아트 스페이스

Viewing works using the ‘Into Thin Air 2’ app. © Manzi Art Space

공중화장실도 작품의 무대가 됐다. © 만지 아트 스페이스

Even the public bathroom can provide the platform for art. © Manzi Art Space

By building an installation art in the middle of a city, placing an odd art object in a space like a public restroom that has no connection to art under normal circumstances, and encouraging the public to participate in the completion of an art, the artists challenge social convention and norm, recollect memories that belong to a space, and offer a chance to experience communication through art to the public. The project presents the artists with an opportunity to collaborate with the local community as well as expand their own art narrative through fresh approaches.
Hanoi art trip tip: Download ‘Into Thin Air 2nd Edition’ application on your smartphone and when you get to a certain location, an virtual image of artist installations will pop up on the screen. It conveys a message that even if the space no longer exists after a long time, the art installed in that space will be playable forever.
딘티탐풍, ‘I love you til the winds don't blow’, 2020 © 만지 아트 스페이스

Dinh Thi Tham Poong, ‘I love you til the winds don't blow’, 2020 © Manzi Art Space

Third Journey: Into the Art World of Dinh Thi Tham Poong
It is no easy task to select just one artist from the extensive collection of exquisite art pieces at Manzi Art Space. Art is by nature subjective and the ‘best work’ depends on who the viewer is. Having said that, considering the institution is in Hanoi, Vietnam and that it plays a central role in the Hanoi art circle, many experts will recommend works by Dinh Thi Tham Poong who is known for an excellent exploration of cultural identity. 
Dinh Thi Tham Poong is a contemporary artist of Muong and Thai heritage among Vietnamese ethnic minorities. She is noted for her intricate depiction of the relationship between human and nature using surrealistic painting methods. Born in 1970 in Lai Chau in northern Vietnam, she studied at Hanoi Fine Arts College. In 1993, she received her first award at the Minority Artists Exhibition, and continued to make her name in various international art awards. Her works can be seen at the Singapore Art Museum, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, and Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
만지 전시관 전경. 만지 아트 스페이스는 두 해 전부터 별도의 전시 공간을 마련해 운영하고 있다. © 만지 아트 스페이스

View of Manzi Exhibition Space. It has been running a separate exhibition hall for two years. © Manzi Art Space

Final Journey: Upcoming Exhibitions in June
At Manzi, starting June 4, Hanoi-born artist Nguyen Tuan Cuong’s solo exhibition of his lacquer paintings will be held for a month. The exhibition will feature 15 pieces that will make your heart throb with their illusive color schemes. 
Two exhibitions are scheduled to open at Manzi Exhibition Space run by Manzi Art Space. ‘Liberation Radio’ (May 28-June 13) is a sound installation work arranged by film producer and artist Esther Johnson, sound artist Nhung Nguyen, and historian Matthew Sweet. The project was inspired by a true story in which a recording of pop music and political rhetoric used for propaganda between the United States and Vietnam during the Vietnamese War was transmitted to Hanoi and rural areas through a diplomatic route. It will be a valuable opportunity for the audience to experience a small portion of the Vietnamese history that has yet to be shed light on.
응우옌쑤언끄엉의 래커 페인팅 작품들 © 만지 아트 스페이스

응우옌쑤언끄엉의 래커 페인팅 작품들 © 만지 아트 스페이스

Lacquer paintings by Nguyen Tuan Cuong © Manzi Art Space

Lastly, Ly Hoang LY, one of the most influential female visual artists in Vietnam, is preparing for a month-long solo exhibition tentatively titled < Perpetual ephemeral: A study of Pho > starting June 23.

Manzi Art Space
14 Phan Huy Ich, Nguyen Trung Truc, Ba Dinh, Hanoi 
02 Ngo hang bun, Nguyen Trung Truc, Ba Dinh, Hanoi (Manzi Exhibition Space)
Phone +84-24-3716-3397
롯데호텔 하노이

Where to Stay in Hanoi: LOTTE HOTEL HANOI
LOTTE HOTEL HANOI is located in the upper floors of Hanoi’s new landmark Lotte Center, and is a 15-minute drive from Manzi Art Space. The hotel offers 318 rooms and suites with beautiful interior designs inspired by traditional Vietnamese patterns, as well as superb views overlooking the entire city. There are various options for food and beverages including top-notch restaurants using the freshest ingredients from around the world and local specialties. The rooftop bar is also famous for its skyline view.
Address 54, Lieu Giai St. Cong Vi Ward. Ba Dinh, Hanoi
Phone +84-24-3333-1000
June 2021 Editor:Kim Hyewon
Writer:Jeon Haein

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  • June 2021
  • Editor: Kim Hyewon
    Writer: Jeon Haein
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