albb 2010
albb 2009
albb 2008
albb 2007
albb 2006
albb 2005

about albb
open archive & reading room


Motoko Uda
Sue Hajdu
Galerie Quynh
Nguyen Nhu Huy
Himiko Saloon
Ryllega Gallery
Salon Natasha
Atelier Wonderful

Pasi Karjula
Marko Vuokola
Sten Are Sandbeck
Minna Heikinaho
Bank & Rau
Sendai ArtCity
trans urban
X-CHANGE culture-science
Asia Art Archive (AAA)
Arts Network Asia (ANA)
Art Autonomy Newtwork (AAN)
Cemeti Art House
the house of natural fiber
Juliana Yasin

a little blah blah (albb) is an artists' initiative that since 2005 has operated as a platform for contemporary art through a wide range of channels including projects, exhibitions & events, screenings, talks, a residency program, internships and an open-access archive of art books & catalogues. Our program has evolved in a pioneering spirit, in response to the gaps and needs of the Saigon art scene. Since 2008 we have re-focussed our program to presenting one major project each year, capacity building and the ongoing running of albb Reading Room.

A window until the rains come: albb Open Studio program

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albb's major project for 2010 turns an existing café into a creative space where art meets the public in Ho Chi MInh City. For 10 weeks, right in the heart of District 1, selected local and overseas artists take over a downtown space to use as their studio from 6 to 12 days each. The general public can visit freely to see first-hand how artists work in their studios, to take a workshop or to roll up their shirtsleeves and get involved in a creative project.

A window till the rains come: albb Open Studio Program aims to create a flexible, relaxed and spontaneous space of interaction between artists and everyday people. Artists are free to work 4n this open studio setting as they please. From time to time, members of the general public will stop by, to observe, chat, participate, perhaps even assist the artist with their work. Some may make repeated visits, forming friendships, unexpected relationships or spontaneous communities. The project thereby creates a discussion and interaction zone that dissolves the isolated space of artists' studios and the mystique of art practice, and creates a two-way interaction flow between artists and everyday people. All participating artists speak English or can speak Vietnamese or have bi-lingual assistants to help them with Vietnamese-speakers.

Participating artists are encouraged to occupy the space quite fully, and to actively produce work that is highly visual or highly material. They are not required to complete works during the time of this project, simply to work or experiment as they normally would in their own studios.

The 36m2 space at PI-CHANNEL features beautiful natural light through a large window that looks down onto the colonial period trees in Le Thanh Ton Street. This fashionable area is bustling with restaurants, bars, boutiques and shops, busy all through the day and into the night.

This project will span the period between Tet (Lunar New Year) and the start of the monsoon season. One never knows exactly when the rains will come. Looking out of the front window of their temporary studio at PI-CHANNEL, one of the last artists in the program will watch with excitement as the first storm for 2010 breaks over Saigon.

24 Feb 2010 - 02 May 2010
9AM - 9PM daily

@ PI-CHANNEL shop, upstairs
31B Le Thanh Ton, District 1, HCM City
PI-CHANNEL website:
PI-CHANNEL facebook:

While in process, this project was documented with photographs on facebook. Please check the following links for photos, or the links at the end of each artist's section, for further photos related to their projects.


Photos of some of our lovely guests at albb Open Studio

Open Studio launch party photos

Studio party by Fred & Vincent - pics by Sue Hajdu


our window

the first rains

Participating artists

24 FEB - 01 MAR: Tran Minh Duc /// Vietnam - Ho Chi Minh City

Tran Minh Duc is an independent graphic designer and emerging visual artist. He studied at the College of Culture and Arts, Ho Chi Minh City, a relatively small school teaching a variety of art forms. Duc very much enjoyed this environment, and the fact that he could listen to piano in the morning, cai luong from the Mekong Delta at lunchtime, and the singing class in the afternoon, all the while playing with his own colors and drawings. Born and raised in Saigon, he also has a deep fondness for this city, the way it wakes up in the morning, the way it moves, its particular lifestyle and habits.

Duc first worked with albb on the Bao Loc Project, 2007, where, while assisting Nguyen Kim To Lan he created his own independent project called Standing There for One Night. He also recently took part in the group exhibitions Blink at Sàn Art and We promise you a kiss, at Vân Art Gallery in HCM City. He is part of the team at Me Phim, which organizes screenings of international and local short films and discussion with film makers, film students and film lovers.

costume design & tailoring

In his room, the superhero is spending his days tailoring a new suit for himself. After all his breathtaking activity to save the world, he returns to his little room and with needle and thread he sews himself a costume suitable for the superb human being with magical abilities that he is. An ordinary room with soft music—just loud enough to be able to hear it—and personal pictures hung on the walls. He sits there and tailors away. On the other side of the window, the world keeps changing, but in that room, everything passes in easy peace, just like on an ordinary Sunday.

Drop in and visit Trần Minh Đức as he designs and tailors his superhero suit in the open studio, surrounded by images and documents of superheroes that he has collected and used to decorated the studio walls.

post-studio reflections

When I first conceived the general concept for Sunday's Superhero, I wanted a very tangible yet distant project, something like a shop window converted into a room so that passers-by could glance in; or an apartment with a lonesome superhero living his private life—bringing the groceries home after a long work day, washing his clothes, watching TV and making occasional repairs to his superhero costumes.

While building the project idea, I anticipated it would turn out differently to what I had planned, and indeed it did. My project turned out to be a performance with some cosplay but part of a much larger, more textured experience.

During my week in albb Open Studio, I negotiated with my own reflections as the usual internal artistic dialogue but also in the new context of having an "audience". All these negotiations helped me tweak the project. I let a bit of my own creative voice go, and the superhero costume in some ways became the "people's choice" in its taste and appearance. Upon refection, it's indeed true that a superhero can only be super in the gaze of others. Subject cannot exist without object, and vice versa. Visitors would look and wonder what I was doing—such a ridiculous idea, all these shiny fabrics! They were longing to see the final product. They were seeking the real super being, in action. Meanwhile, I was trying to identify the "super" in every individual.

I had never imagined the ways people would enjoy my super sewing project. Bit by bit, people got involved in the "super" idea. As they started thinking about a super human being who saves others or as they started to feel comfortable in the situation that we were co-creating, a certain heaviness evaporated from their minds. People stayed and chatted, regardless of whether they were a first-time acquaintance or an old high school friend. The sofa was all theirs, they chose the music and the drinks. I just sewed while they talked. When I got stuck on the pattern cutting or a color choice for a button there were always someone there to help.

In my mind, visitors were no longer mere viewers. Some came with stories of their own. Even those who came just to have a look or those who timidly took photos were definitely part of the spirit. Everyone enjoyed the open studio experience and found themselves participating in their own way. Everyone was part of the "super".

Duc's open studio days – more photos on facebook:

Tran Minh Duc - DAY 1 in albb Open Studio, pics by Luong Tu Dung

Tailoring the costume - pics by Sue Hajdu & Luong Tu Dung

Duc's most loyal visitor - pics by Sue Hajdu & Luong Tu Dung

The first fitting - pics by Sue, Dung and Nguyen Kim To Lan

Surprise party and other studio madness - pics by Sue, Dung & To Lan

03 MAR - 08 MAR: Philip Faulks /// Australia - Melbourne

Philip Faulks was born in England and arrived in Australia in 1976 where he lives in Melbourne with his wife and family. He has held thirteen solo exhibitions in various cities in Australia and has been included in over sixty group exhibitions in Australia, Singapore and Venice. He is represented in national and state collections in Australia, including the National Gallery of Australia and the Museum of Contemporary Art and his work is also held in private collections in Australia, England, Ireland, France, USA and Japan.

Philip first traveled in Vietnam about a decade ago. This will be his sixth visit to HCM City, where he has been building friendships and professional relationships. He has a long-standing interest in Asian culture and in Vietnam is attracted to the continuously evolving, dynamic character of this youthful nation. In 2007 he first worked with albb on the Bao Loc Project, for which he was an official observer.

Philip teaches Visual Art at Chisholm Institute and is represented by Ray Hughes Gallery, Sydney, Australia.

Philip's project in the open studio:
work on paper

09 MAR - 14 MAR: 8Geese /// Vietnam - Ho Chi Minh City

8Geese is a handicraft collective that was first conceived in 2002 when its eight founding members were studying at the University of Architecture. They were friends who shared a passion for design and were looking for an identity to unite themselves.

Upon graduation, each member of the group pursued her individual career while still embracing the dream of working together. Then, in 2007, 8Geese was established, but the economic crisis of 2008 put a halt to its debut.

The dream was not forgotten. In September 2009, 8Geese caught the attention of people in HCM City with the launch of its sock animal collection. Their products were an instant hit, and were soon featured in AsiaLife Magazine.

The six active members of 8Geese who will participate in A window until the rains come are qualified interior designers, graphic designers, industrial designers and educators. Busy with their day jobs, they produce sock animals in their spare time, each contribute her individual experience, ideas and talents.

soft toy design & construction // workshop

During their time in the open studio, 8Geese will replicate their day-to-day working environment. Meetings will be held, new ideas will be developed, prototype products will be made, socks will be transformed into something totally unimaginable.

Come to witness the creation of an 8Geese toy—see what is possible with socks! Join a workshop and learn how to craft a sock into an irresistible sock animal. Visitors are also welcome to make comments and suggestions about products or future designs.


In this workshop, 8Geese members will show participants how to create their most popular product, the fish. This workshop will be conducted in both Vietnamese and English and is open to adults and children over 5 years of age.

post-studio reflections

The open studio opened a new way of communication and sharing which is very different from our group's normal working style. Meeting new people and actively starting up a conversation was sometimes a challenge. For some of the members of our group, working solo is the best way to come up with lots of ideas, particularly when the creative juices are flowing.

However, most visitors were friendly and genuinely curious about our little products. We could see them starting to smile, see their appreciation of this kind of hand-made work on their faces. During the program, we had opportunities to meet, chat with and make friends with many people who share the same interest and passion in creativity. We felt closer to the community, especially to those who are interested in handicraft. We also became excited about introducing our work to people from different backgrounds. By interacting with different people, we came to a better understanding of their view of our products as well as Vietnamese handicrafts in general. The support and encouragement of visitors strengthened our confidence and motivation to carry on with our socking work.

Apart from the unexpected creativity of the visitors who joined our weekend workshop, the one truly unforgettable thing was their sympathy and support toward our charity fund-raising to help disabled children in Can Tho. Even though it was just a small amount, we were very grateful because of the encouragement their gestures signaled.

Sometimes the topic of conversation was not only about our work but also about life itself, about people and the daily happenings of visitors' lives. In a sense, our interactions in the open studio sometimes became the starting point of long-term relationships. I hope this kind of project will spread in Vietnam so that young people can enjoy an art space and freedom in creativity without any affection.

One night, Sue even cooked us some scones and brought them over to the studio. We felt like we were working in a family. Alas, it all ended so quickly!

8Geese's open studio days – more photos on facebook:

8 GEESE installation frenzy - pics by Sue Hajdu

8Geese creative guests - pics by Sue Hajdu

8Geese workshop - photos by Dung & Phuong Anh

8Geese studio days - pics by Sue & Phuong Anh

16 MAR - 24 MAR: Freek Drent, in collaboration with Vincent Westgeest
Netherlands - Ho Chi Minh City

Freek Drent graduated from the Willem de Kooning Academy in painting, drawing and design in 1990. During the final year of his studies he became a member of ExpohenK. With this art-group he organized exhibitions for local and international artists in an old factory site in a historic part of Rotterdam. In cooperation they also realized projects and installations in different countries in Europe. ExpohenK works are held in major art collections such the Caldic Collection and the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands.

During the following years, Freek collaborated with Dutch sculptor, Ron van der Ende, and filmmaker, Stella van Voorst van Beest. His main interest was the transformation occurring in Eastern Europe. He made frequent visits to Romania, where, during one notable project, he worked with left over consumer goods in an umbrella factory.

Freek, who is also known as Fred, became attracted to photography whilst traveling in China. After finishing a residency in Beijing, he made the decision to re-locate to HCM City in 2008. In HCM City he has been photographing by walking around neighborhoods in outlying districts, producing a collection of images of detailed everyday objects and street scenes.

Vincent Westgeest discovered his interest in photography while living and traveling in South America fifteen years ago. Returning to Amsterdam, he enrolled in a 4-year course at the Academy of Photography. During this time, he assisted several professional photographers, including the well-known Dutch photographer, Jan Zwart. The work of world-famous photographers such as Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Sally Mann, Edward Weston and Julia Margaret Cameron became an inspiration, particularly for their outstanding composition and print quality.

Vincent has explored both artistic and commercial photography, generally working in black and white film with a large format camera. Seven years ago, he started traveling again, this time in Southeast Asia. He spent five years living and working in Cambodia, and has recently re-located to HCM City.

studio photography

For the past year or so, Freek Drent and Vincent Westgeest have been photographing in HCM City. Out on the streets, they often meet certain types of people, certain "characters" whom they find interesting. For albb Open Studio Program, they will set up the room as a portrait studio and will invite some of these characters to come and be photographed. Their project will be open and experimental, using different kinds of lighting, or backgrounds like billboards or commercials that are all over HCM City.

If you visit the open studio, you may also be invited to become a subject for one of their studio portraits.

On the walls of their temporary photo studio, Freek and Vincent will also hang a selection of portraits they have shot around HCM City. Visitors will be able to view these and the work-in-progress, as portraits are directed in a somewhat contrived studio situation that has been surrounded by the flavor of the authentic urban environment from which these characters have come.

Fred & Vincent's studio days on facebook:

Fred & Vincent -studio days - pics by Sue & Jiang

PORTRAITS - 2 of the shoots - pics by Sue Hajdu

27 MAR - 01 APR: Bill Nguyen /// Vietnam - Hanoi

Bill Nguyen is the youngest of the artists taking part in albb Open Studio Program. He returned to Vietnam six months ago after completing his degree at Nottingham Trent University, England, and has been settling into the art community in Hanoi by reviewing exhibitions, interviewing artists and art students, and giving talks. In 2008 he participated in the 10+ exhibition at Nha San Duc, and he is also involved with the art and culture website, Hanoi Grapevine.

In his artworks, Bill combines different aspects of performance with sculpture, installation and text. He is intrigued by human behavior and surroundings, by the relationship between these factors and how they affect, alter and manipulate one another.

The root of this fascination comes from the fact that Bill has always been an outsider and a foreigner, to both Vietnamese and British cultures. However, being twin-cultured is in fact a powerful factor feeding his art practice and helping him to understand, explore and disrupt everyday life through his artworks. No matter what the medium or the location, Bill's work is always a response to this mixing and matching of cultural differences.

community performance & space intervention

Through his artworks, Bill Nguyen likes to challenge physical and psychological behavior by turning familiar spaces into unexpected situations where the original function of the space and the conventions of behavior associated with it have been disrupted. In his performance entitled Tea Party, 2008, the artist and a friend quickly set up a cafe table and two chairs in the middle of a downtown city street, and sit down to drink tea together as cars and pedestrians maneuver around them until they clear the table away 30 minutes later.

If you enjoy encountering the unexpected, if you like to be surprised, come visit albb Open Studio and find out what Bill is next up to. Take a pause in the midst of busy Saigon, come and "transit" with Bill. You may leave with a different point of view about life, about art. Perhaps you might make some intimate friends too.

post-studio reflections

Saigon has always held a special place in my heart, so whenever an opportunity arises to visit this city, I do my best to take advantage.

Taking part in albb Open Studio, I initially wanted to offer people a chance, a reason and a place to stop by and take a break before heading back to their fast and hectic "industrial life". I wanted to encourage them to rediscover their sense of wonder in the everyday, and to seek out the shades of difference and newness in their surroundings. "Almost a form of art therapy," as one of the guests who came to the studio commented before leaving.

In the end, I realized that it was actually the people of Saigon, with their amazing vibes and fascinating stories, that were doing me a favor by offered me a chance to learn more about a part of Vietnam and its culture that was still not so familiar to me. And this is why I adored working in an open studio: outsiders became guests, spectators turned into participants; their activities, as much as mine, were perceived as important matters. Everyday there was a collective energy flowing about nonstop in the studio, as well as a constant exchange of ideas, viewpoints and feelings between the guests and I, and between the guests themselves. People were in dialogue both with their contexts and with one another. They were transforming the private zones of their imaginations, emotions and knowledge into forms that are transmittable to others. They were the ones determining the nature of their own experiences—with the studio space, with my work and amongst themselves. In many ways, they became my collaborators, my colleagues, my friends.

I went on this journey with questions in my head about Saigon as a collective and Saigon as an individual. Along the way I have found some answers regarding its history, culture and traditions, its people and their ways of living. All of my confusion about the differences and contradictions between the culture, art scene and lifestyle of my hometown, Hanoi and those of Saigon seem to have subsided. In its place now grows a deep interest in people. Each individual was an amazing story to read, each making up a part of a history and culture I am yearning to learn.

But most importantly, new questions have popped up, ones which ask me to look back into myself to rediscover what I truly love and to reconsider all my wishes and perspectives, ones which inspire me to go back to my hometown to truly and fully live and work, ones which encourage me open myself to the outside world and help me find myself and my ground once again.

For this I must thank Saigon. See you again soon!

Bill's open studio days on facebook:

Bill Nguyen moving in - pics by Sue Hajdu

IN TRANSIT: studio days - pics by Sue Hajdu

Fun in Bill's studio - pics by Sue Hajdu

IN TRANSIT - studio nights - pics by Sue & Phuong Anh

03 APR - 12 APR: Michael Bullock /// Australia - Melbourne
Radoslaw Stypczynski
/// Sweden – Stockholm

Michael Bullock recently completed his Master of Fine Art at Monash University, Melbourne, where he also works as a sessional lecturer.

In 1999, Michael was awarded a studio residency in Hanoi as part of Australia's Asialink Visual Arts Residency Program. This was undertaken at the Hanoi College of Industrial Design. He has also spent time in other parts of Vietnam, participating in the Third International Sculpture Symposium, Hue, 2002 and The Fourth International Sculpture Symposium, An Giang, 2003. His ongoing interest in Vietnam's history, cultural and art inspired him to take up Vietnamese lessons back in Australia, allowing him to forge friendships and absorb another cultural perspective more fully in his work as an artist. This will be Michael's fourth visit to Vietnam.

Solo exhibitions include Rubber Fish at the Australian Embassy, Hanoi, 1999 and at Gallery 4A, Sydney, 2001, and Chuyển Thể, at Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne, 2003. Michael has also participated in group exhibitions and competitions in Australia and internationally.

sculpture / installation

Like many artists working in Vietnam, history and time are important themes in Michael Bullock's work.

During his time in the open studio, Michael will collect objects and images that represent Vietnam's engagement with the outside world and will assemble these in a clumsy time-line. These objects, seemingly random in collection, will have their origins in countries such as France, China, Russia, America and Korea and will become the basis for simple and speedy artistic transformations such as replication, reproduction, dissection and reassembly. New hybrid forms may emerge as Michael works with a range of unconventional materials that he will source as he explores HCM City.

This collection of objects will reflect the flux experienced by Saigon as it has integrated into the global community, in addition to Michael's daily experiences and his own understanding of Vietnamese culture and history.

Visitors to the open studio are invited to give Michael a hand in assembling and making these new objects, or to just chat about the development of his ideas and work. Michael is looking forward to new friendships that will emerge from this program, in addition to catching up with old artist friends from his previous visits to Vietnam.

post-studio reflections

In the open studio, I wanted to make something from paper that is light, soft and fragile even though it should really be solid and permanent. As an artist, I often respond to and transform the objects and images that already exist in the world.

My anticipation for visiting Cholon (Saigon's chinatown) preceded my arrival in Saigon and I wasn't disappointed. The array of materials that could be found at Binh Tay Market are a dream for an artist interested in the subtle language of materials. Working as an artist can test the possibilities of an idea, imagination, material or technique. It can begin as simple experimentation through to final processes of refinement. The synthesis of material and image can be an uncertain concoction as intuition and reason balance. My ambition for the project changed as I responded to the very different and strange geography of Saigon. As a traveler in this terrain I was also on foot. Walking is always the best way to discover a new city, it allows you to be slow and free with your vision, collecting thoughts and images as you go.

I was initially nervous about working in an 'open studio' and feeling unsure about working side by side a complete stranger, but Radek and I became good friends during the course of the project. His energy, humor, music, visitors and enviable t-shirts were all vital contributions to my project.

I often ask myself as I look at my workbench "What is this?" "What are you doing?". Often I don't know. Artists chase these gaps in knowledge, pursuing the unexplainable and the irrational to make it visible, present, substantial and real. How do we then explain our work to another, let alone in a second language? Coming to terms with a different language bears a similarity to making artwork in that there is a time when words have no shape, but then they can form in to sentences and paragraphs and a conversation can commence.

Making art can sometimes demand the utmost concentration as you negotiate different areas of problem solving and oscillate between success and failure. I found my dexterity with this increased tremendously when facing a barrage of questions while holding something together with my thumb and forefinger…as the glue dried!

However, it was never a burden to have guests, and I must admit surprise to this. Visitors came with an interest, enthusiasm and understanding for the art and artists. They could identify with our process and thinking, and were excited and generous.

Michael's open studio days on facebook:

Michael moving into albb Open Studio - pics by Sue Hajdu

Weekend guests - pics by Sue Hajdu & Huynh Nguyen Phuong Anh

VOLTAIRE'S HEAD - pics by Huynh Nguyen Phuong Anh & Sue Hajdu

Radoslaw Stypczynski was born in Poland and has been living in Sweden since 1981. He holds an MFA from Umeå University of Fine Arts.

Radoslaw, better known as Radek, first visited Vietnam seven years ago as an exchange student at Hanoi's Fine Art University and has returned to Hanoi eight times since then. Passionate about Vietnam, he has learnt the language, taking him into Vietnamese communities, not only in Vietnam but also in Poland. The winter of 2007-08, Radek went to Warsaw where he followed a group of Vietnamese immigrants in collaboration with Ylva Landoff Lindberg, resulting in Birds of Passage, a photo/video-installation.

In Radek's imagery there are often elements traceable back to the graphics of the early-era video games that he played on his 8-bit computer as a kid. The rugged edginess of his works is a result of Commodore 64 influences mixed with the lacquer painting he encountered in Hanoi. His own take on the technique is called "Contemporary Nordic Lacquerpainting", an adaptation of lacquer where he utilizes the disadvantages that come with the drier climate and completely differing materials that are available to him in Sweden.

mixed media & lacquer on MDF

Radoslaw Stypczynski's "Contemporary Nordic Lacquerpainting" originates from the traditional Vietnamese lacquer painting he learned as an exchange student in Hanoi. In contrast to traditional Vietnamese lacquer painting and its excess of gold, silver and mother of pearl, Radek uses inexpensive materials available in most hardware stores.

Participating in A window until the rains come: albb Open Studio Program, Radek is keen to introduce his way of working with lacquer, to meet people to get the hang of the southern dialect and not least, to scout the hardware districts of Saigon and Cholon for potential 'gold'.

post-studio reflections

On my first day in the Open Studio, a close artist friend of mine, Nguyễn Đức Lợi, came to visit and asked a very simple question: "Who do I talk to if I want to work in the Open Studio"? My answer was that since the studio was mine at the moment it would be enough for him to ask me. So the following evening Lợi came in with his two cases of paints and brushes and a canvas almost the same size as my lacquer board. His ambition was to start making a "copy" of my ongoing work. At first this made me rather uncomfortable. What if his "copy" turns out better than my "original"? What if he completes the "copy" before the "original"? Would that make my work the "copy" and his the "original"? What if Lợi steals the technique I've been developing on my own, and have been strict not to let anyone know the details of, and he refines it further?

Loi and I worked back-to-back, each on our own version of the same picture. Lợi's "copy" came along really fast, forcing me to speed up my process. I had an advantage in that Lợi had a day-job and could only join me after office hours. When the two pieces were near completion we started thinking about the next step. The following day we sat down in front of a new, bigger lacquer board to make a collaborative painting.

I've seen a lot of different artist's collaborations and they're usually not this hands-on when it comes to sharing the authorship of the work. In music, theatre and dance there may be more give and take, but visual artists are often very reserved and individualistic. Working on the same piece with Loi I was scared that maybe he would hijack it and transform into something more precious. But after a few days my mindset changed into seeing the value of sharing this technique with someone in Vietnam. I felt I was on to something good: challenging the way that painters think of themselves as the lonely genius in the studio, working on their own imagery.

One of the most frequent questions from visitors was "What's the purpose?" Well, the purpose was never completely clear, not even to myself! Our intense collaboration definitely deepened our friendship. Doing so, I hope we can contribute to making our respective art-worlds come closer together.

My wish is that I can continue working with Lợi in the future in a collaboration that consists not only of visual art but also of cultural exchange where we learn from each other how to express ourselves in our respective "target" languages: Vietnamese for me and English for Lợi.

Radek & Loi's studio days on facebook:

Radek moving into albb Open Studio - pics by Sue Hajdu

Weekend guests - pics by Sue Hajdu & Huynh Nguyen Phuong Anh

TAPE-PHOTOS-LACQUER - pics by Phuong Anh & Sue

14 APR - 18 APR: Archie Pizzini /// USA - Ho Chi Minh City

Of Hispanic background, Archie Pizzini grew up in Texas and was educated in both fine arts and architecture. He spent most of his life in Houston, and also worked in New York for a few years before moving to Vietnam in 2005. In HCM City he is partner in the architectural firm, HTA+pizzini Architects.

Archie's life has followed a double track in which the two strands of art and architecture always seem to be present. The best moments in his creative life are when these two viewpoints add extra dimensions to each other with ideas gaining strength as they bounce between the two sensibilities.

Originally, Archie viewed visual art as a way of trying to preserve what he most loves about certain places, moments or people. His thinking has now moved on to a more realistic position—he uses art practice to savor what delights him and to try to pass that delight on to others.

Life in HCM City yields many scenes of such delight as buildings in this city are almost immediately altered, added to or subtracted from by entirely different people, creating a wonderfully unexpected result.

Archie's project in the open studio:
mixed media

20 APR - 25 APR: Simone Boon /// Netherlands - Hong Kong
Marsha Roddy
/// UK - Hong Kong

Since her childhood days, Simone Boon has lived in many different countries such as British Borneo, the Netherlands, Venezuela, Belgium, Malaysia, Austria, and Hong Kong, where she has been based since 2004.

Living in ever-changing surroundings, between east and west, has made Simone sensitive to the multiple ways in which people perceive the world around them. Understanding and mis-understandings are intertwined with the inner paradigms embedded in each of us by the culture of our upbringing. 'Perception' has thus become an important consideration in Simone's work. Another interest that she explores in her work is how life evolves over time, space and place, weaving and layering moments into illusionary patterns.

Simone works with sculpture, ceramics, video and photography. The fact that ceramics is almost as old as mankind itself while photography is less than 200 years old enhances the idea of being involved with something that surpasses time.

Simone is in her last semester for a Masters in Fine Art at RMIT in Hong Kong, and first visited HCM City for a seminar in 2009. The Open Studio program is an exiting opportunity for her to return to share her art practice and create dialogue with the community here.

Simone's project in the open studio:
studio photography & movement

Since the mid-80s, Marsha Roddy has enjoyed a career as a production designer, creating sets and costumes for theatre, film and television as well as undertaking interior design and architectural projects. She has lived in Amsterdam, as well as Los Angeles where she designed for a number of feature and independent films including, the award winning 73 Virgins. Marsha has also designed for numerous dramatic productions at many of the UK's most prestigious theatres including: Waiting for Godot at The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield; Romeo and Juliet, East is East at the Leicester Haymarket; Amen Corner at the Lyric Theatre, London; and Cafe Vesuvio at the Manchester Royal Exchange. She was also responsible for the costume designs for the BBC's Big Dance in Trafalgar Square.

More recently, Marsha has devoted herself to a Masters in Fine Art with RMIT Melbourne. This has given her time to explore and execute some of the ideas that have remained, until now, inside her sketchbooks. One of the ideas concerns what she calls "energy drawings", a continuous stream of daily drawings connecting with our conscious and unconscious minds. Marsha's first visit to HCM City was in 2009 as a part of her Master's program.

Marsha's project in the open studio:
drawings on paper

27 APR - 02 MAY: Susan Olij /// Indonesia - Singapore

Susan Olij was born in Indonesia in 1974. She has a background in fashion design, which she studied in the UK and USA before working in the field in both the USA and Singapore. She later received a scholarship to study visual art at LaSalle College of Arts / Open University London in Singapore where she completed her Masters in 2009. Susan has exhibited in Singapore, Indonesia and Australia. This is her second visit to Vietnam.

Susan's passion to share art and creativity led her to take up a position lecturing at LaSalle College of the Arts and to establish Olij Studio, where she offers creative workshops to people of all ages and backgrounds.

Her interests as an artist include communication, psychology and drawing. Her multi-disciplinary art practice is fuelled by cross-cultural studies and theories of thought and belief systems. Running Olij Studio is a perfect avenue to continue her research into such areas, especially as concerns creativity. She is currently developing a specialized course in drawing, using the research and science of the right brain.

Susan's project in the open studio:
drawing on rice paper, photography

Our thanks to all of the following, whose hard work and generous support have enabled this project to happen:

Project concept & direction: Sue Hajdu
Project Manager: Luong Tu Dung
Project team @ PI-CHANNEL: Ngo Dung / Doan Do / Helen Huong
Graphic design & layout: Doan Do (PI-CHANNEL)
English texts: Sue Hajdu
Vietnamese translations: An Huynh (PI-CHANNEL), Bill Nguyen & Tran Minh Duc

and: Hanoi Grapevine / Vo Nguyen Mai Tram / Le Thua Tien / OUT2-Studio / Duy from April / Archie Pizzini / Tran Minh Duc / Sophie Hughes / Hoa from San Art / Vo Thanh Lien Anh

all photographs © respective authors

This project is generously supported and hosted by:

31B Le Thanh Ton, District 1, HCM City
+84.4 38 220 253