Since 2012, Shyevin S’ng has created a vibrant space in the District 2 of HCMC with the goal of spreading awareness of the Modern and Contemporary Art emerging in South East Asia. The Vin Gallery and the VinSpace Art Studio support Art communities both locally and regionally. The Vin Gallery provides a platform for an eclectic roster of artists to exhibit in a range of media and connects artists with the wider art community and international collectors through their participation in major art fairs. The VinSpace Art Studio organize creative learning through art classes and artists’ workshops. We caught up with the lovely Shyevin S’ng, who shared with us a few insights into running a gallery, workshops, and exhibitions around the world.
Shyevin, when did the Art world begin to interest you?
I always loved art! But getting ‘into’ the art world really began 16 years ago.
How did you start to create the Vin Gallery?
I started the Art Studio first. That was in 2010 before I opened the gallery in 2012. Having a gallery was my dream, and I thought why not live my dream when I still had the energy! So I started planning it for few months, with a couple of artists in mind, like Muhlis Lugis from Indonesia and Yohei Yama from Japan. I drew up a plan for six months, in the beginning, then from there it progressed step by step…After six months, I decided I wanted to exhibit in international fairs, and Saigon would be the base.
What’s the selection procedure for the gallery?
First of all, private galleries have the benefit of being flexible. That means, often, the owner can follow her own taste in choosing the artwork. I choose the artwork style that’s close to my own liking. Then I spend a lot of time with the artist, to understand what is his idea and the concept behind his artwork. The most important for me is to know who is behind the artist. I like to work with loyal and honest people. I always work in a long term relationship for both the artist and the gallery benefits.
Other than representing artists’ work to clients as a gallery, how else do you work with your artists?
Being a gallerist is not as easy as just presenting and selling artworks. I have to curate the artists’ artworks. This can be a long process, depending on how independent or experienced each artist is. Then, I need to write a proposal to submit the exhibition, if the show is held somewhere outside the gallery. Planning and managing an exhibition is a crucial part of being a gallerist. It determines how you want to promote your artist and what direction the collaboration will go in, such as going into auction or just developing a strong CV for the artist.
What is the most exciting thing about working in the Contemporary Art world?
Seeing new people every day, connecting to Art and true beauty is really rewarding.
Do you think Art is a luxury?
I think art is essential, not a luxury.
Do you collect Art yourself?
Yes, indeed. As a gallerist, that is a must.
Why do you think galleries are so important?
Galleries are the ones who find the artists and showcase them. I believe, no matter how good you are, without promotion, no one will know you. Hence, the gallery’s work to make that happen. Of course, if the artist has time also to do it, that’s great. But often, freeing them from that aspect, helps them to keep creating.
How is the Art Market in Vietnam? Is it true that the market is not growing here, like in HK or Singapore?
Vietnam is still in a growth stage economically and in a lot of other aspects. It’s hard to say if the country can follow in the footsteps of Singapore and Hong Kong, as the government’s policies need to develop to make this happen. The censorship issue has been widely discussed recently. Without some resolution, development in the Arts will remain slow here.
Not many galleries celebrate their five birthdays in HCMC… What is the secret? What differentiates your gallery from the others?
From the beginning, the target was to be based in Saigon, and not to think about making money to take away from here. So we run international fairs and bring the money back into town to support the local community. This place less pressure on our gallery. Vin Gallery not only exhibits local artists but international artists as well, and this also makes us a bit different from other galleries in town.
Could you tell us what projects you have been involved in this year?
I have been curating Saigon Artbook Edition 6, which just had its launch a few weeks ago. And I am planning next project in China who will be announced in a couple of months.
It’s time to leave, but there’s one more thing I need to know. Because of your experience, knowledge, and love of art, I wanted to know what one piece of wisdom could you pass on to all aspiring artists?
‘Be true to yourself, give yourself time, let your creativity grow and never stop questioning yourself and others.’
Vin Gallery – Vin Space Art Studio: 6 Le Van Mien, Thao Dien, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Contact Vin Gallery HERE
Contact VinSpace HERE