HÀ NỘI — Ha Noi-born painter Bui Đuc, famed for his lacquer paintings, surprised his fans when he presented his latest artworks at an exhibition that opened in the capital on Friday night.
The artist, who has spent the past five years living in Lao Cai Province’s Sa Pa, unveiled a collection of 53 wooden bas-reliefs. The bas-reliefs featuring different human portraits were created from household or farming tools Đuc has collected in Sa Pa.
“Actually, I have selected only 53 out of 75 works to display at the exhibition, which is to celebrate my 53rd birthday,” said the artist, who was dressed in an indigo outfit worn by people of Mong ethnicity local to Sa Pa.
He said that he was “haunted by the Mong ethnic culture”.
“I can see the beauty in every humble item that the Mong people use in their life,” said the artist, who was born and raised in Ha Noi’s Old Quarter. Đuc said he can’t stop himself collecting and accumulating hundreds of such items in his house in Sa Pa, like plates, trays, cowbells and furniture. “Some of my friends even said that my house looked like a mini-museum,” he said with a big smile. “Actually, I just want to bring a touch of local ethnic culture into my living space – a place of a former ‘city man’.”
Since the coronavirus pandemic outbreak in February, the artist stayed home and found he could bring another life for the inanimate items he had collected.
“Unlike my lacquer paintings that I have ‘invested’ a lot of brainstorming for concept ideas and layout when I created these wooden bas-reliefs, I didn’t follow any rules or styles. I just felt that I had all the freedom when I was working with these wooden works,” he said.
Since he started sculpturing the first bas-relief in February, the artist has devoted himself completely to his new pursuit.
“Sometimes, during the sculpture process, I even had no idea about time and surrounding space, I didn’t feel hungry or thirsty, just focused on working until the bas-relief was sharpened.”
According to him, each portrait is not of any specific individual, “but the ones that I’ve met, both acquaintances and passers-by, who drew my attention by their appearance or expression.”
The exhibition is open to public until December 11 at the Nguyen Art Gallery, 31A Văn Miếu Street, Ha Noi.
After graduating from the Viet Nam University of Fine Arts in 2003, majoring in lacquer, Đuc quickly won the attention of art lovers. In 2007, he was invited to exhibit his lacquer paintings at an international painting exhibition in Singapore. In 2008, he had his first solo exhibition Phía Sau La Nui (Mountain is Behind), following by another one entitled The Mother Âu Cơ in 2009.
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