“O Gabinete de Madame Thao” is currently exhibiting works just waiting to be discovered, from 10 contemporary artists, who are connected to Vietnam in some special way and all share a “passion for creating on paper”.

Their work mediums include “pencil, ink, watercolour, gouache, ball pen, pastel, black stone, collage or print” and this intimate exhibition will be running until November. The incredible artists whose various works are displayed and can be purchased are: “Hoang Duong Cam, Thao Nguyen Phan, Quentin Spohn, Nadege David, Florian Song Nguyen, Mai Loan Tu, Bertrand Peret, Hoang Nam Viet, Constança Arouca and Sandrine Llouquet.” This exhibition focuses solely on contemporary artists and most of the artists whose works are displayed are living in Ho Chi Minh City, with three of the artists of Vietnamese origin but currently living in Morocco, the UK and Lisbon. The other three artists are not Vietnamese but they are living or have spent time in Vietnam including Portuguese artist Constança Arouca, who spent some time in Vietnam for research purposes.

Sandrine Llouquet has been painting and drawing from a young age and her fascinating works have been “exhibited in numerous contemporary art events in Asia, Europe and the United States including Singapore, Shenzhen and Macao Biennials, Kenpoku Art in Japan, Ke Art center in Shanghai, the ARCO museum in Seoul, the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, and The Mistake Room in Los Angeles.”

“Although I have lived in Lisbon for two years, I have the feeling I am still very new here because of the lockdown which made it hard to discover the art scene, the city and new people. It is still very new for me but I really love it here, it is a beautiful city and every morning when I cross the Tagus River, I feel it is amazing to be here.” Sandrine opened the exhibition in mid-July and it has been a very different experience creating an exhibition during the pandemic, which has caused her to postpone the exhibitions grand opening to mid-September.

I asked Sandrine Llouquet what can our readers expect to see from her work at the LX Factory and she told me that her work is influenced by the ideas of Religion and Beliefs and “I am very inspired by philosophers and psychologists and researching archetypes and how there are some universal concepts and people represent these concepts in different parts of the world. Sometimes there are similar symbols and I try to find connections, rituals and different beliefs and I mix them with my own little universe.”

“When I moved to Lisbon, I started to research the history of Azulejos and I was very interested in all the ornaments and their patterns and trying to understand them from a psychological point of view and that has influenced a lot of my recent drawings, so in this exhibition you can see a lot of patterns and symbols and shapes, from myself.”

My most curious question was, where this space’s unique name came from and to my delight Sandrine Llouquet told me its origins: “I have chosen this name keeping in mind the titles I give to my exhibitions. While reflecting my passion for curiosity cabinets, my taste for the mysterious and for exoticism, it also refers to my origins (Thao is the diminutive of Thu-Thao, my Vietnamese name), the places where I used to live (France and Vietnam) and where I live today (“o gabinete” means the cabinet in Portuguese).”

“I deeply enjoy the time I spend working alone in my studio but I also like to provoke meetings, discussions and create events, which is why I decided to make this space a reality.”

Additionally, “O Gabinete de Madame Thao” has a fantastic stationery and book shop, where you are guaranteed to find something to quench your creative thirst! The exhibition’s shop has an array of art supplies including notebooks, brushes and pencils and gift items but most uniquely it sells artisanal special paper, which comes from Asia, including, Vietnam, Bhutan, Nepal and Japan, which is something I found to be such a special touch to this exhibition and the paper itself is a hidden gem in Lisbon. Sandrine Llouquet added that she believes “it is interesting for people to see what they can create with different types of paper and I really have loved collecting it for a long time as I am always looking out for paper workshops.” The multilingual book section in this space is also a noteworthy find. It has been put together by Sandrine Llouquet and includes works that inspire her, there is a vast selection of second-hand essential art and human science books, which the public can buy and they are mainly in Portuguese, French and English.

In terms of the future of “O Gabinete de Madame Thao”, her exciting plans include bringing “intimate scale cultural events, including lectures, artist talks, mini-concerts, video art, short films and documentaries screenings and even book presentations, to this space as well as workshops, art courses and live model sessions which will be regularly scheduled, with small audiences”. Sandrine Llouquet also assured me that she will be keeping their Facebook page updated with all these events, so a must a follow for any arts lover in Lisbon. There will also be a new exhibition in November, which she is currently preparing, “I plan to have a new exhibition every three or four months and some of the artists will be the same but what I really want is a bigger mix of artists and to showcase more Portuguese artists.”

For further information about the current exhibition and opening hours, as well as purchasing any of their art supplies and books, please see https://ogabinetedemadamethao.com/ as they also have an online shop. This space promises lots of incredible future events so please be sure to check out their Facebook page at @ogabinetedemadamethao for all event updates.