Raquelle Azran - collector, museum curator and gallerist, specializing (since 1991) in contemporary Vietnamese fine art. Museum exhibitions include Wilfrid Museum, Israel (2002, 2005) and National Fine Arts Museum, Vietnam (2007). Her 2007 London Bankside exhibition Of This and Other Worlds was featured in the Times and the Guardian, and Artnews. Works from her collection are on loan to international museums. Consultant to embassies, collectors and corporate clients.
A first encounter with Vietnamese paintings evokes surprise as well as delight. Familiar mediums – oil, gouache and watercolor – join with distinctly Asian motifs and spatial concepts. This unique blend of Eastern and Western sensitivities began in 1925 with the founding of the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Hanoi by the French artist Victor Tardieu, and has continued to inspire the Vietnamese aesthetic tradition. Stylistic elements of Impressionism, Expressionism, figurative art, Cubism and Fauvism intermingle with purely traditional Vietnamese themes of emotional experience and spiritual values as represented by the village, the buffalo, the ancient dances. The juxtaposition of handmade rice paper and traditional lacquer painting with contemporary artistic techniques bridges the temporal worlds of past, present and future, and spans the cultural divide of East and West.
Vietnamese art is defined by its brimming vitality, lush colors and directness, as well as by its poetic, dreamlike meditativeness. Depending upon the personal message of the artist, the spectator is invited to share in nostalgic memories of the past or to enter a fantasy world of stylized imagery. Never confrontational or aggressive, Vietnamese art is a lyrical, serene and intriguing moment of beauty in time.
Vietnamese contemporary fine art has become an established and sought after presence in the international arena of fine art – in galleries, auctions and museums.
NGUYEN SY BACH
Weaving fantastic, dreamlike scenes of flora and fauna, Bach invites us into his private world of abstract yet embodied art. The shimmer of seashells and of translucence lures the viewer into a dimension of immense purity, from which detachment is not an option.
Chuong’s paintings cry out the colorful melancholy of human existence. In the tradition of Miro and Picasso, figures and shapes are detached and then reassembled in vivid affirmation of the artist’s passionate search for meaning.
NGUYEN TUAN CUONG
Living in the town of Sapa among hill tribes and ethnic minorities, Nguyen Tuan Cuong richly celebrates village life and its ceremonies in dense outpourings of Fauvist color and unbridled imagery.
NINH THI DEN
Den has turned from sculpture to collage to express her ideas of the world. Following in the footsteps of Picasso and Malevitch, Den works with paper and gouche to achieve volume and depth in her depictions of hill tribes in the Highlands of Vietnam.
LE TRIEU DIEN
Described as one of the most promising painters in the Mekong Delta, Dien combines a purity of line with the splendor of color, evoking the illusory rhythms of seduction. He invites the viewer to be enveloped in the multi-layered reality of a dynamic sensation.
Hanh juxtaposes the ancient technique of multi-layered lacquer on wood with uniquely modern representations of the female form. Using the most delicate of line and contour, Hanh beguiles us with glowing images that are both universal and timeless.
VU THU HIEN
Hien paints magical mysteries using watercolor on traditional Vietnamese handmade paper. Ethnic figures both fairytale and real, shimmering and equivocal, combine with tropical foliage and exotic interiors to weave timeless melodies in celebration of nature’s patterns and human passions, intertwined.
PHAM VIET HONG LAM
The first “green” painter in Vietnam. Lam expresses his passion for life by painting rural village scenery in unexpected and extraordinary intensity of color. Mountains, trees, people and beasts, all are ablaze in glorious hues. Perhaps his numerous brushes with death while in the Vietnamese Resistance elicited Lam’s fierce determination to view life as a riot of beauty and sensation.
MAI DAC LINH
Linh dedicates his art, both painting and graphics, to the ethnic minority people of Vietnam. Using ink, natural pigments and medium on the very thinnest of rice paper, he recreates in his own, very personal style the daily lives and landscapes of his country.
PHAM THANG LONG
Long’s minimalist canvases shimmer with geometric forms hinting at reality. His paintings echo the duality of life: simplicity and richness, dreaminess and worldliness, innocence and maturity. Long’s work is a paradox of geometric design bathed in pure rhythm.
NGUYEN QUANG MINH
Minh’s paintings embody the essence of Vietnamese grace. His works breathe a metaphor of innocence. The tranquillity of minimalism, the elusive figurativeness, the generosity of quiet space – all these are captured in the small moments of Minh’s works.
NGUYEN TU NGHIEM
Nguyen Tu Nghiem, the last of the three founding fathers of contemporary Vietnamese fine art, has been described by the art critic Nguyen Quan as ‘a historic consciousness in terms of painting.’ A master painter, Nghiem resurrected ancient village artistic traditions and recreated them in a uniquely Vietnamese contemporary sensibility. Combining a naive aesthetic of primitive art with technical mastery of medium and form, in the spirit of Van Gogh, Gauguin and Picasso, Nghiem has created a simplicity so multi-layered yet so universal that his art speaks with the beauty and integrity of truth.
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