Fine arts in “technology era”

With the development of the technology in the world, Vietnamese fine arts sector has made strong changes in the ways of creating, promoting and enjoying art works.

The fine art exhibitions that used modern technologies have created unexpected social effects.
The fine art exhibitions that used modern technologies have created unexpected social effects.

New experiences

The fourth industrial revolution (4.0) has brought about unprecedented development in all fields. In the digital age, the pursuit of creating and enjoying art works as well as visiting museums and exhibitions and purchasing goods can be conducted right at home with the internet through digital multimedia entertainment.

There were technological breakthroughs that “shocked” the art world. For example, the portrait Edmond de Belamy depicting a fictional man that was created by artificial intelligence (AI) was sold at US$432,000 at the famous art auction house Christie's in New York, the USA. Despite its lifelessness, the painting’s impressive price proved that robots could in fact create artworks. Only one year later, an exhibition of paintings, drawings and sculpture made by Ai-Da, a humanoid robot programmed by artificial intelligence, unveiled at Oxford University in the UK, collected around one million pounds.

Over recent years, there have been more and more fine art projects, exhibitions and works in Vietnam using digital technology, with an increase in the use of vivid effect for visitors while they experience these new kind of works. The year 2019 witnessed two large-scale and unique exhibitions attracting great attention from experts and the public, including “Van Gogh and his works” at the Vincom Centre for Contemporary Art (VCCA) and “Bui Xuan Phai with Hanoi” at the Hanoi Museum.

It was the first time that the masterpieces of Vincent Van Gogh –one of the best post-impressionist painters were introduced to Vietnamese fine arts lovers by a completely new form; digital versions. Accordingly, the paintings, in different themes including still life, self-portraits, trees, and landscapes, were showcased alternately and automatically by modern projectors with very high resolutions. Through the screening of original paintings on a large screen, the corridor of the brush strokes were also enlarged, allowing viewers to be able to observe each and every tiny details. The combination of the shapes, colours, brightness and darkness highlighted the authenticity of the materials, providing visitors with a unique and new visual experience.

The exhibition “Bui Xuan Phai with Hanoi” displayed over 200 paintings by the famous painter, under three categories of Hanoi streets, ‘cheo’ (traditional opera) and sketches of his relatives and friends. The exhibition applied 3D mapping and multimedia technologies, in association with special sounds and lights, to combine realism and theatricals. In addition, visitors to the exhibition had the chance to interact with the art works thanks to the AI technology. In a unique approach, their images will be identified and sketched on paintings of Hanoi streets according to the style of painter Bui Xuan Phai.

Opportunities and challenges

Many experts said that the application of modern technology to screen the photos of paintings (not original works) was mely a gimmick that could not dissect the meaning and artistic feelings. However, it is wroth noting that these exhibitions have created surprising social effect as they ha e attracted a large number of young people. Through the events, many visitors could learn more about the art works and painters. Therefore, many ideas and new questions regarding art have been raised, supporting the new exhibitions.

The application of technology to change the way of composing and conveying artistic values in accordance with the demand of the public has become a common trend of modern society. However, the fine arts is an artistic pursuit hailing the creativity of artists. According to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Nghia Phuong from Vietnam Fine Arts University, in terms of creation, it is not always necessary to involve new technology during the process of creating art works. However, the fourth industrial revolution has had a significant impact on the concepts; arts practice; the learning and sharing of information and professional knowledge; as well as the way to bring art works closer to the pubic and receive insights and feedback.

Notably, the applied art field has been virtually influenced by modern technology. With the participation of the internet and new technology, many types of designs such as communications, fashion, games, spaces, products, interaction and user interface, has created breakthroughs and rapid changes, bringing about new and great socio-economic benefits.

Vietnamese fine arts have received and actively responded to the opportunities and challenges created by the industrial revolution 4.0 to create new feats that stay on par with the current trends of the era while not losing their traditional identities, contributing to building and developing the country’s cultural industry.