June 19, 2024

INTRODUCING: Simone Hoàng | Visual artist

Simone Hoàng: "Questioning conditionings and conventions is central to her process, often through the dissection of contradictions."

Simone Hoàng, a visual artist from Vietnam, finds the “Creative” aspect of the three C’s—Culinary, Circular, and Creative—most applicable to her work. As a visual artist, she works independently. Galerie Fontana from Amsterdam represents her work, showcasing it at art fairs such as Unseen and Art Rotterdam. In her work, the concept is of paramount importance. Questioning conditionings and conventions is central to her process, often through the dissection of contradictions.

Simone is on the third floor, in a completely whitewashed space. The impressive blue artwork “Catalina Island” stands out strikingly in this white room. Simone explains: “Catalina Island is the protagonist in one of my works within the series titled ‘Movie Star.’ The initial approach was: can something that usually serves as a background have its own entity? What lies behind the foreground is the so-called wallpaper that serves as a screensaver on various electronic devices, originally intended to prevent image burn-in on screens. This island turned out to be the most used screensaver worldwide. What happens when you put a background on a background and turn it into a pedestal? Can you physically walk around a screensaver? During this project, I also delved into the world of chroma key blue and green. This technique is mainly used in the film and television industry to isolate and replace specific colors in the image without affecting the other colors. As a material, I chose CNC-milled polystyrene foam. Polystyrene foam is often used as packaging material: after the product is unpacked, the packaging material is usually discarded. The island is coated with Chroma Key Blue texture paint.”

Simone has just returned from the Sahara, where she spent a few months filming at night on 16mm film and developing the filmed footage at night, using the darkness as a darkroom. She is currently working on editing this in her studio.

Since September 2023, Simone has rented a space on the third floor of the Centrale Markthal. “I have a penchant for spaces that initially had a different purpose, like the Centrale Markthal. I have always been interested in monumental buildings. They evoke curiosity in me. When you first enter here, you are amazed. It is an imposing hall,” says Simone. “What also appeals to me about the Centrale Markthal is the combination of different disciplines, the favorable location in the city, and the relatively large, high, and bright workspace. Additionally, besides your own workspace, you can also use the rest of the Centrale Markthal, both inside and outside.”

Since the beginning of this year, Simone shares her studio with choreographer Lotte van Gelder. They know each other through a mutual friend, Fuji Rademaker, who is responsible for the music programming for Markt Centraal, the downstairs neighbors in the Centrale Markthal. They work separately on their own projects, but who knows, they might collaborate on something in the future. In the fresh white space, ideas are experimented with, various materials are explored, and above all, there is a lot of thinking. Soon, “Catalina Island” will be on display at Kunstcentrum de Appel on Tolstraat in De Pijp.

Photos by Chris van Houts