Culture Culture

25/12/2017 - 08:53

Into the abstract world by Truong Be

As the foreword penned by artist, author Linh Huyen goes, "The wisdom in Truong Be's lacquer paintings has been so far accumulated into a so-called ‘complex’, contributing to the visual art treasure of mankind."

Painter Truong Be (far left) in the opening ceremony of the exhibition. Behind him is one of his large-sized abstract paintings

In his exhibition themed “Thiên-Địa-Nhân” ("Universe - Earth - Human"),Truong Be once again proves to art-lovers his master skills in the Vietnamese abstract visual fine arts - the field he has dedicated almost all his life to pursue. More than 20 lacquer paintings displayed would grip the mind of anyone who sets foot in the gallery located inside the hotel at 8 Hung Vuong st., Hue city. His vigorous and varying brush strokes lead the viewers into a drifting world, discovering the universe through dramatic movements to the tune of the Yin-Yang circle and symbolic signs.

In his speech delivered at the opening ceremony of the exhibition, journalist Nguyen Trong Chuc proclaims, "I was taken by surprise, amazed! It seems to me that his creative energy has been mounting with time, which should be admired by young artists." In fact, his paintings seem to belittle those who stand in front of them, making their heads whirl in search for an answer in the infinite universe. Regardless of their size, every of Truong Be's abstract paintings has been meticulously worked on, showing a constant degree of boldness and harmony between the depth of the colours and the flexible, delicate movements.

Sharing his thoughts on the process leading to “Thiên-Địa-Nhân”, artist Truong Be reveals that he has nurtured the idea for dozens of years. He believes that a human is a living entity, a part of the universe, always ready to perceive its beauty, absorb its energy, and on that basis, able to perceive its continual movements. "I am an artist, once I have perceived, the next thing I need to do is to express, to embody it. I need to convey to the viewers so that they can share my perception,” he explained. "I consider the universe in its compliance with mysterious and immutable laws. On that ground, I reflect, create and reproduce what I perceive by means of abstract art.  Abstractness means "unreality", but it contains numerous well-hidden elements of the reality. In fact, abstractness is close to our daily life, or in other words, understanding abstractness is like listening to an instrumental. The listeners - or the viewers can choose to perceive at any angle or aspect."

With that philosophy in mind, artist Truong Be has been diligently working on his works, reflecting his thinking, feeling, worldview and outlook on the universe. Once finished, each artwork always becomes independent of the painter. In the exhibition, his brainchildren, some of which are "Đào nguyên" (Heavenly Landscape), "Sự sống" (Existence), "Biến ảo" (Illusive Transformation), have their own conversations with viewers, which means every of the viewers, based on their feelings would unveil parts of what Truong Be wants to convey. "Of course what the viewers perceive is not necessarily all what I mean, but I appreciate that they share with me, though partly. And that nurtures their consciousness."

"Dao nguyen" (Heavenly Landscape) - one of the abstract artworks on display at the exhibition.

Surrounded by the paintings, the viewers themselves spend time reflecting and embark on searching for their own earth, their own universe. Contemplating every of his senior artist's artworks, artist Dang Mau Tuu praises that Truong Be's style is distinctive and cannot be mistaken for that of anyone else. He puts it, there are two types of painters, one changes to "transform", the other delves into arts to find the underlying "root". Truong Be belongs to the latter, thanks for which his paintings are always of great value, the value of "delving into arts".

As the foreword penned by artist, author Linh Huyen goes, "The wisdom in Truong Be's lacquer paintings has been so far accumulated into a so-called ‘complex’, contributing to the visual arts treasure of mankind."

Co-displayed at the exhibition are several paintings on poonah paper (giấy dó) embodying the theme of "woman" by artist Thanh Dzung from Germany, on the invitation of artist Truong Be. With simplified brushwork, her paintings are still expressive and vibrant, thus gripping viewers' mind. The exhibition takes place at the display hall at Imperial Hotel at 8 Hung Vuong st., Hue city until December 12.

Painter Truong Be was born in 1942 in Quang Tri. After graduating from the University of Fine Arts in Hanoi in 1974, he worked at Hue University of Fine Arts and served as the Rector from 1996 to 2000. He also held various positions, including Vice Chairman of the Visual Arts Council of the Vietnam Fine Arts Association (4th term, from 1994 to1999); member of the Executive Committee of Vietnam Fine Arts Association (for three successive terms 4th, 5th, and 6th, from 1994 to 2009), member of the Central Arts Council of the Vietnam Fine Arts Association (5th and 6th term, from 1999 to 2009).

Story and photos: PHAN THANH