“Life is beautiful” is a new slice in the creative process of Vu Dinh Tuan, it consists of a number of serial artworks viz. Egg, HER, Happy Footsteps, Dance, Happiness, Ladies, Somnambulism, A Contemporary Day …the pictures reveal the artist’s passionate and serious work as well as his constant search for creative ideas which is both radical and flexible, consistent and incessantly innovative.

The pictures bring about a new, modern atmosphere, truly a cheerful feast shining with tints and colours, painting lines and strokes. There are no more old stories of rural markets, fishermen’s villages, the landscapes of a banyan tree, a wharf or a sampan …to bore the viewer’s eyes. And are dying out also the plain and aesthetically familiar range of colours we often see in traditional wood -cuts.

The set of prints Ladies appear as a splendid carnival with all kinds of affected clothing and masks, ancient and modern alike, miscellaneous and ever - transforming. You may see Ladies with a graceful gait and a traditional appearance who are very knowledgeable about music, chess, poetry and painting. And there are also nude Ladies who are very modernist with their bodies freely decorated with patterns after the “body art” style in vogue recently in the world. The masks look rather comic and bizarre, from the faces of flowers, birds, owls to those of wild beasts transformed into phoenixes…They evoke varied metaphors and associations of ideas: are they gentle or superficial? Sincere or treacherous? The Muse or devil? Beside the authority, luxury, glitter and attraction of this feminine world there prevails a sense of insecurity, a danger signal which warns that the world of humans nowadays has lost its ancient purity and simplicity: it is covered up by sheaths and packaging of ads and deception with the possible threat of wars. Be on your guard!

The set of prints Happy Footsteps, Dance, Happiness express the joy of life and human aspiration for love. This simple and eternal topic is exploited and developed by Vò §×nh TuÊn though his free, fanciful plastic art rhythms and the diversified composition with gentle, liberal lines and strokes, very fine and close to art. The range of colours is fresh and novel, going far beyond the simple, limited one used in traditional, folk woodcuts. With a bit of attention, you’ll notice that the artist has skilfully executed the colour masses by sophisticated engravings, imprints of superimposed colours, supplemented by decorative patterns to induce gentleness anal a subtle harmony of colours. This will enrich Vò §×nh TuÊn’s works with the graceful, elegant richness of the sense of beauty in modern art, thus lessening the dryness inherent in woodcuts.

Apart from the sublimation of love, natural instinct and reproductive vitality concealed under childish picture titles such as Nu na nu nèng ( lit. onomatopoeia, a children’s game), Chång nô chång hoa (lit. Superimposing buds and flowers – a children’s game) once again we see Vò §×nh TuÊn coming back to complex, confused, hallucinatory states of mind in his set of pictures Somnambulism. Here there are still human figures but they do not go in pair harmoniously, quite on the contrary, they behave as adversaries, roaring and writhing in a confined, strained space amid an environment infected by owls and snakes: such a heavy range of colours with dark spaces! Could it be that the artist has a permanent premonition about the world today, the one that is not always peaceful and serene but full of obscurity and insecurity instead.

For a long time, Vò §×nh TuÊn has been known as a competent artist in the field of woodcuts and silk paintings marked by several fine art awards. “Life is beautiful” is his first solo exhibition of woodcuts. The art display shows that Vò §×nh TuÊn, on the basis of national artistic tradition and his own talent, has made a new advance both in artistic language as well in the technique of printing woodcuts. He is openly and efficiently receptive to Oriental and Western influences, to modern aesthetics and the present-day sense of beauty with a view of finding out his own way and individual style. That leads to a remarkable success in the present art exhibiton.

Hanoi, October 2009.

Bui Nhu Huong

Art critic.

(English Translation


The Hung,Ph.D.)



Title: Dance 01_40cm x 110cm_2009.jpg
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