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Ngo Van Sac

Ngo Van Sac copy.jpg

Born in 1980 in Hanoi, Ngo Van Sac’s wood burn portraits represent a pivotal point in his artistic path. He discovered this powerful technique when he started painting on wood panels 10 years ago.


Unhappy with the paintings he created, he burned them all. In the flames, he observed the natural colours and patterns created by the heat. His perspective shifted and he saw fire as more than a destructive element; it evoked powerful feelings and emotions tied to the ebb and flow of life itself. By combining fire and natural pinewood, Ngo Van Sac truly found himself.

Each of his portraits reveal a story. In one of his more poignant paintings, “Land of Memory” he featured a little school girl in the minority village of Sapa, where Ngo Van Sac was doing charity work. The child’s naive dream of life captivated him.


He wondered, if in her innocence, was she yearning for a better life in the city? Was she aspiring for a bright and better future, as hope was evident from the expression on her face. He left the village riveted by her; she remained in his head for a long time and he felt compelled to do a portrait of her. Upon the completion of the portrait, he was able to let go of the memory of her.

“My artworks are about desires: the tension between real life and fantasy and the intricate relationships between humans. To show this intensity, I like strong renderings of figure, the effect of different surface textures and the strong contrast between black and white.” – Ngo Van Sac

Ngo Van Sac has gained recognition in Vietnam and internationally for his unique technique. He has held solo exhibitions in Canada, Japan, Hungary, South Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore.

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