Culture Culture

24/01/2018 - 14:28

Interacting with lacquer paintings

Combining fine arts and applied arts, the exhibition “Duyên bốn mùa” (Charming Seasons) by the young artist Nguyen Duc Phuoc gave viewers a different look at lacquer paintings.

Spring Tree

Sitting on... paintings

His first-time exhibition at the French Academy (1 Le Hong Phong St., Hue City, January 15th-25th) brought to the viewer a different feeling. This project had taken him the whole year long. All the artifacts such as the tables, the chairs, etc. were made by himself. 

Different from other exhibitions of traditional lacquer paintings, the combination of fine arts and applied arts at this exhibition created an interaction between the work and the viewer. People who went to the exhibition not only to admire but also to touch the rough tree trunks, listening to the passage of time, to look at themselves in the mirrors and to sit down on the chairs, resting their hands on the tables. All of the artifacts were made of lacquer.

Time, memories and the constant movement of life are the content of this exhibition. More than 20 works, including trees, mirrors, tables and chairs are decorated in a quaint way, showing nuances of the four seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter. Spring is green, winter with cold colors, summer with bright red, and autumn is yellow.

Nguyen Duc Phuoc said “Duyên bốn mùa” was his memories and desire to return to his innocent childhood. The desk made by his grandfather; the dog, the cat, the bicycle, the car, the flowers, etc., which he was attached to in childhood were put to art. On the tree trunks were clocks, showing his desire to return to his childhood.

"For me, all of my childhood memories are always innocent and remain intact. I want to rewind the time to be back to my childhood. The exhibition is assessed as big or small, beautiful or not does not matter to me. What matters most is that people are interacting with the exhibits and thinking about their memories of childhood," said Phuoc.

New direction for lacquer 

Both his parents are painters and lecturers at College of Arts, Hue University. Nguyen Duc Phuoc hence accessed art from childhood. At the age of six, Phuoc began to draw his first lacquer painting. Over the last 20 years, Phuoc has been experimenting with various materials and art forms, from painting, sculpture to multimedia arts, but most of his works are lacquer paintings.

It was his first solo exhibition, the works of this young artist created curiosity, novelty and interest for the public. With the simple idea of ​​describing the world of childhood, the exhibition “Duyên bốn mùa” showed that Phuoc had done more than that. Many senior artists thought Nguyen Duc Phuoc introduced another idea of lacquer. He put lacquer paintings in a more vivid coat. It was the application and interaction which no one had done before.

Ancient people used lacquer to decorate bowls, trays, etc. Over time lacquer was used in King's palaces and by members of the nobility together with lacquering and gilding, and became out of reach of common people. As a young painter, Phuoc has crossed the boundaries. People often use lacquer to paint pictures, but Phuoc even goes beyond that. He arouses the applicability of lacquer which has long been forgotten.

Nguyen Duc Phuoc said: "Art keeps changing over time. It brings people emotion and visual aesthetics and the same holds true for lacquer art. This is the way I choose. Today, visual arts allow the interaction between the artist, his works and the viewer. It is also my objective."

"What people appreciate at this exhibition is the applicability of lacquer works. It also proves Nguyen Duc Phuoc's talent for painting, especially the use of lacquer in eggshell and mother-of-pearl inlay," said Mr. Do Xuan Phu, Vice-Rector of College of Art, Hue University.

Story and photo: Trang Hien