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08/02/2020 - 08:05

Lacquer painting family

Passionate about lacquer art, the family of the painters Nguyen Duc Huy and Luong Thi Anh Tuyet together create a world of lacquer.

The whole family of Nguyen Duc Huy (College of Arts, Hue University) is passionate about lacquer art

Predestined and empowered

In a small alley on Minh Mang Street, the house of the married artist couple Nguyen Duc Huy and Luong Thi Anh Tuyet is a work of art. Located in the middle of nature with rows of bamboos, with a lake, flowers and plants ..., the rustic architecture of the house is even more special when decorated with lacquer.

The workshop’s space is filled with lacquer paintings, from realism to abstract and design. The hot, warm, typical colors; the subtle color shades, the delicacy of gold, silver or the sophisticated art of egg carving all attract viewers...

Painter Nguyen Duc Huy's family has 3 members and they are all devoted to lacquer art. Each person has a unique style and they each create their own mark on lacquer art.

Pursuing lacquer art is not easy, because it requires meticulous and careful work

With over 35 years pursing the art form, Nguyen Duc Huy is knowledgeable about lacquer techniques to turn the inherent deep color of the paint into something that is equally splendid by the special technique of using eggshell, vermilion, carbon, gold, silver paints.

The topics are close to life: clouds of sky, water, still lives, landscapes, portraits ... but his paintings are general, philosophical and symbolic. If before, people still considered lacquer to be flat, Nguyen Duc Huy could express the roughness, thickness, texture and smoothness in the same piece of art.

Often about nature, girls, families, children ..., paintings by Luong Thi Anh Tuyet, the artist, are always feminine, not abstract but evoke very real feelings. Her works are also special with the gentle blue, purple colors - colors that are rarely seen in lacquer paintings. In addition to painting, she also does design work with the desire to discover lacquer at its beginning origin.

Both the artist couple Nguyen Duc Huy and Luong Thi Anh Tuyet studied and teach lacquer major at College of Arts - Hue University. Sharing the same passion, lacquer also helped them to fall in love.

Their love for lacquer was passed on to their only son - the painter Nguyen Duc Phuoc. Born in an artistic environment, lacquer was ingrained in Phuoc's childhood.

The work in the exhibition "Four season chances" by Nguyen Duc Phuoc

In his first public exhibition "Four season chances" at the French Institute in Hue last year, the young artist Nguyen Duc Phuoc brought a different feeling to the public. More than 20 works including trees, mirrors, and sets of student tables and chairs were decorated in an amusing way not only for viewers to enjoy, but they can also stroke the rough trees, listen to the passage of time...

These works have surpassed the boundaries of visual arts, evoking the inherent application of lacquer that has long been forgotten. By combining visual arts and applied arts, Phuoc has contributed to lacquer a different way of thinking, giving lacquer paintings more vivid qualities which are its applicability and interactivity.

Nguyen Duc Phuoc shared: “Every material has its own beauty but lacquer is a traditional Vietnamese material. By being careful with egg carving, pearl inlaying, silver sticking, gold sticking ..., lacquer helps the artist to express many ideas without being repetitive."

Tables and chairs decorated with lacquer

Bringing lacquer to the world

From their passion, the artists Nguyen Duc Huy and Luong Thi Anh Tuyet brought lacquer to the world.

Starting from the Vietnam - France Festival in 1992, they had activities to introduce lacquer art to international friends. They were then invited to France to share research on lacquer. Over the past 20 years, since 1998, every year for about 3 months, the couple is invited to teach Vietnamese art, mainly lacquer art, at universities and fine arts centers in France, Spain and Denmark.

Nguyen Duc Huy said that at first, it was difficult for foreigners to access lacquer art of Vietnam. When they did, they treasured Vietnamese traditional materials and arts.

“The most successful thing is that lacquer changes the minds of international friends about Vietnam's art. They found lacquer very natural, harmonious and beautiful. Many foreign friends have continued to make lacquer "alive" with their interests in pursuing lacquer in various ways," said Duc Huy.

In addition to universities and professional art centers, many high schools in France are interested in lacquer and have invited the painter couple Huy - Tuyet to teach interactive art. After the course, students in France were able to design cups, jars, egg paste boxes, or know how to create works with eggshell.

Many people enjoyed learning and registered up to 5-6 courses. This helps the artists believe in the art they are pursuing, because it is always new and attractive to the world.

Nguyen Duc Huy also has the ambition to bring lacquer to people. In their creations, lacquer works are not only to be hung on the walls. They try to bring lacquer back to its roots, with pots, cups, chopsticks, shelves, even very small items like pencil cases, pens ...

Every table and chair can be turned into a piece of work. They also create contemporary forms with lacquer: installations, performances and interior designs. They also use lacquer on glass, sculpture, pottery, porcelain...

Nguyen Duc Huy said: “We will reach out to the educational centers through workshops. By sharing, talking and teaching students, we wish to make applied works for lacquer come to life. When I went to teach abroad, foreigners not only saw lacquer as a form of pure art, but also were interested in its application in everyday life. Many designers in foreign countries love lacquer, because it is new, unique, strange and suitable with consumers’ aesthetics”.

Story and photos: Trang Hien

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