A solo exhibition of mixed media paintings by Hanoi-based artist Nguyen The Hung
Born and raised in Tuyen Quang Province in Northeastern Vietnam, much of Nguyen The Hung’s work is influenced by the cultures and traditions of the many ethnic minority groups that populate the mountains of his native region. “The idea for this collection was born from a volunteer project to teach drawing to children in the Ha Giang Highlands that I participated in two years ago. While teaching the kids some basic skills, we teachers in turn learned from them a pure way of seeing things that we had possibly forgotten,” explains Hung. “In this series I have concentrated on observing and depicting the Dao and H’mong ethnic groups. Their individual portraits, marked by a mixture of cheerfulness and shyness, made a strong impression on me. I observed with fascination and delight the way they live in deep communication with the natural world that surrounds them.”
Perhaps best known for his use of do paper in many of his earlier collections, the 12 works of Morning in the Mountains are an experimental combination of various styles including action painting, dopaper, traditional lacquer painting and vibrant coloration from contemporary art. The artist used a mix of materials including acrylics, Chinese ink, gold leaf, “cockroach” lacquer paint and photographs for the series. Hung took special care in reproducing each pattern and accessory on the traditional clothing of the ethnic groups depicted.
“I was confused by the intense emotions the people of the mountains engendered in me. They live their lives immersed in nature. The way they eat and drink is etched in my mind. Their charming way of speaking and unique colloquialisms echo through my thoughts like happy musical notes. I felt that only an action painting style could fully express the joy, excitement and vitality of these special people,” says Hung.
With his latest work, Hung once again displays the unique and appealing aesthetic first demonstrated in his well-received 2011 collection And Flowers Showered. Most impressively, he evidences his determination to explore new materials, subjects and modes of expression as part of his continuing evolution as a visual artist. In addition to his work as a visual artist, Hung has also participated in various projects in music, dance, theatre and fashion. The artist lives and works in Hanoi.
Morning in the Mountains is Hung’s fourth solo exhibition with Craig Thomas Gallery (165 Calmette, D1; until April 21).
IMAGES PROVIDED BY NGUYEN THE HUNG