For over fifteen years, my artwork has been created using one material, Vietnamese traditional handmade Do paper. For more than a decade, I have used this paper to create sculptural installations (which is a departure from the traditional use of Do paper in Vietnamese art). Traditionally, Do paper is used in the creation of Dong Ho paintings, a type of wood cut print. My artwork is a challenge this Vietnamese art making tradition. This is a significant innovation as it offers a new way forward for Do paper as art making material. As the traditional use of Do paper becomes a relic of the past, we must in order to preserve the tradition of Do paper making, find new uses and methods for utilizing this material.
Repetition is an important part of my art making process. All of my work, to varying degrees, is made up of multiples of a single form, sometimes with as many as one thousand multiplied objects making up the whole. For example, my work Dictionaries incorporates one thousand versions of the same sculptural form. Since my works are hand made, this repetition has certain implications. The repetition, while similar to a factory process in method, amplifies the unique qualities of the handmade. We observe the incalculable differences between each copy, and the variation between them become as important as the similarity.
Time also plays a fundamental role in my art making process. With each new work, I reinvent the way I use Do paper. When looking at my works, one will see that same material appears to be different each time. This is due to a process involves experimentation when time becomes a very important ingredient in the reinventing process. For example, Birds appear to look like stone while Dictionaries look like terra-cotta.
Over the years, I have been using other materials to support, but Do paper is always the main material in my work. Working with Do paper offers me a way to; meet my material needs, engage with my culture, and collaborate with nature, equally.