George Burchett

Artist: George Burchett
Title: man woman/ người nữ
Time: from 5 to 18 May, 2014.


As an artist, I have always been interested in the symbiosis between art and architecture. One could argue that the earliest form of art, cave paintings, were man’s early efforts to “humanise” his environment. A cave without art was a natural shelter that could equally serve man and beast. A cave with art, was a human environment, reclaimed from elemental nature.

Historically, some of the greatest examples of art can be seen in temples, churches, palaces, public spaces where they can be seen by a wide public.

For me, some of the most interesting art in Vietnam is Dinh art, the wood carvings that decorate the building and are integral part of the architecture.

Dinh art is popular art at its purest. The artists show exquisite mastery and craftsmanship, but what makes it particularly attractive to me is that the carvings often depict scenes of everyday life as lived by the people. The carvings are full of life, observed by the artist; they are not an illustration of some abstract divine concept or deities. They are real people, real animals, real scenes from life.

I believe that today’s globalised art has ascended onto a theoretical cloud and is losing touch with everyday reality. It no longer reaches out to the “people” but communicates to an elite audience.

I believe the Dinh project offers an opportunity for artists to reconnect with the broader public and popular art traditions.

As a contributor to the theoretical genesis of the Dinh project I would now like to contribute tangible art in the form of two wooden sculptures/puppets, to “populate” the architectural structures created by artists in previous stages of the project.

I propose to create two sculptures/puppets, man and woman in their most primitive form. They could be displayed in the Muong Cultural Museum pond, facing the stone structure by artist Dao Chau Hai. I see them standing on water, as if they have just stepped out from the surrounding nature. The message is simple, clear and universal.

I have never tried woodcarving before, so for me it is also an opportunity to learn a new art form and skill. I hope that many other artists will continue “populating” the Muong Dinh inspired by the spirit of the place and the concept of Dinh.

Ideally, one day I would like to see a water puppet show of “puppets” created by the Dinh artists in the pool/pond of the Muong Cultural Museum.

Size and Materials: Each sculpture/puppet will be approximately 1.2 metres. They will be made of separate parts, like puppets. I will require wood for carving; size to be determined on site. Wood carving tools. Other material available on site for assembling and displaying the man woman sculpture/puppets.


2014, dinh project, george burchett, muong air, Mường Studio, sculpture, site-specific art,