Culture Culture

10/04/2019 - 07:50

Hue Museum of Fine Arts needs to be modern

The painter Tran Khanh Chuong, Chairman of Vietnam Fine Arts Association is very pleased with and appreciates the efforts by the authority and the specialists in founding Hue Museum of Fine Arts.

The painter Tran Khanh Chuong, Chairman of Vietnam Fine Arts Association. Photo supplied by the painter.

Talking to Thua Thien-Hue Weekly, Mr. Chuong says that Vietnam Fine Arts Association on this occasion has presented to Hue Museum of Fine Arts 40 works and given worthwhile advice. 

What do you think about the founding of Hue Museum of Fine Arts?

First of all, I want to congratulate Hue City on the establishment of the Museum of Fine Arts. According to the art development plan to 2030, issued by the Prime Minister on July 25, 2014: "From now until 2030, it is hoped that all the municipalities in Vietnam have fine arts museums.” Among the 5 municipalities now, only Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang City have one each. Da Nang Museum of Fine Arts was established in 2016. At the beginning, there were about 400 artifacts; but after 2 years of collecting, the total now is about 600.

Reincarnation of a City, No. 39 by Vinh Phoi

Meanwhile, Hanoi has got started, but has not found a location yet. I have reminded Hai Phong about it, but so far I haven't seen anything yet. Can Tho is still silent at the moment. Hue has not been listed in the plan, but has established an art museum. It shows a great effort and interest in culture, especially the museum.

I am very happy to hear about the policy of turning Le Loi Street, which is originally a very beautiful street along the river of Perfume, into a street of museums. In terms of art, Hue is a rare place, if not the only one, that allows the two state offices to house Diem Phung Thi and Le Ba Dang Art Centers. These two centers have been working very well until now.

Hanging on the Time by Buu Chi

In your opinion, which direction should Hue Museum of Fine Arts follow?

Hue should follow the direction of a modern museum. Currently, in terms of fine arts, Vietnam has quite a large number of painters of 5 generations. Since 1990s onwards, Vietnamese artists' paintings have been hunted by art collectors. Hue should also notice the famous Hue artists in the past. They will be the highlights of the museum.

The more important thing is to collect the works by previous generations who are still alive and young artists. The young’s works will become highlights tens of years later. We need to look beyond. The older works, the higher their value. They will become property. We should look at them not only as culture, but also as assets of the country. 

Are there any specialization for the system of museums of the country? What for Hue museum, in your opinion?

Vietnam Fine Arts Museum is a national museum and it was founded rather early. Its collection thus includes the works of the whole country. Hanoi Capital is a big center with thousands of artists. Hai Phong covers also the Northeast region. Ho Chi Minh City includes also the Southeast region. The museum in Can Tho, when established, should represent the whole Mekong Delta region.

The museum in Da Nang initially covered the whole Central and the Central Highlands. As for the museum in Hue, it is recommended that not only the generations of Hue painters, because of the small number of artists, it should include artists in the Northern Central as well. Da Nang will then withdraw to the Southern Central and the Highlands. In that way, each museum will have its identity.

Imperial City by Do Ky Hoang

Many people are interested in the ancient fine arts because Hue used to be the center with a lot of cultural and artistic achievements in the long history. What do you think about this?

In my opinion, we need to change our view. Take Vietnam Museum of Fine Arts for example. At the beginning, it displayed both ancient and modern arts. Museum of Fine Arts in Ho Chi Minh City also bought many ancient artifacts. It is not appropriate now to go to museums just to see vases, tea sets, doors, etc.

Da Nang Museum of Fine Arts recently did the same thing. It has one area for antique objects. But those objects are of low value, since valuable ones have been sold out. Ancient artifacts in Hue should be displayed in the museum of history or the museum of Hue culture. Hue Museum of Fine Arts, in my opinion, should focus on modern arts: paintings, sculptures, installation art, video art, etc. 

Do you have any suggestion about how to collect paintings despite difficult conditions at present?

We need to find many ways to collect paintings. Besides purchasing, we also persuade artists to donate their works. I think they would be willing to do so. Or you can do what I had advised in Da Nang. We organize art camps and invite well-known artists. After the camp, they leave 1 piece for the museum. In this way, the museum has works by famous artists.

By the way, I suggest that Hue City should check all the state offices for paintings by famous artists and collect them for the museum. Also, the city should contact College of Arts, Hue University to persuade them to present good works for the museum, especially graduation works by students of different generations. I believe painters would be very proud if their works are on display in the museum.

Story: THAI LOC