Mai Dac Linh’s lacquer and do paper paintings

(VOVworld)- Nearly 30 paintings on lacquer and do (poonah) papers by Mai Dac Linh are on display at an exhibition in France. The exhibition, titled “Faith and Time” gives viewers a good impression of Vietnam’s contemporary arts. Linh uses Western art idioms to depict Vietnamese values in his paintings

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“Faith and Time” is Mai Dac Linh’s first exhibition in France. It showcases 13 lacquer paintings and 10 do paper paintings. Linh’s lacquer works are rich in emotional expression. Each lacquer work contains the fineness of traditional values. Whether they are yellow or green, red or pink, their colors are seen in multi-layers, especially in the paintings “Time in hand”, “Alone”, and “Prestigious royal family”. Some of them, like “Current”, sparkle.  In Linh’s works, traditional materials used in Vietnamese lacquer art are harmonized to reflect the Oriental artistic sensibility. Linh says:“Vietnam is an agricultural country. Almost every village has a pagoda, which clearly shows Vietnamese people’s Buddhist spirit. Long ago, our ancestors applied lacquer to make Buddha statues, devotional objects and items used in Buddhist ritual ceremonies. In my works, I want to convey humanity and the Buddhist spirit and use it as a language to communicate with larger audience”.

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Linh’s intention to convey the Oriental spirit is clearly reflected in the titles that he gives to his paintings, such as “Flying dream”, “Crossing the waterfall”, and “Summer song”. These works linger in the audience’s hearts giving them thoughtful feelings.

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Corinne de Menonville is a French art critic and the author of the book “Vietnam Contemporary Art”: “Linh’s works are unique thanks to the way he uses lacquer and controls the colors. His dark colors are pure. Vietnam’s lotuses, Dong Son bronze drums and traditional images have been successfully transformed in Linh’s lacquer paintings. His creation in do papers, the traditional material of Vietnam’s Dong Ho painting, is unique. I like the strings that he pasted on the do paper paintings. The colors that he uses in these paintings are light and fresh. Linh’s creativity and the harmonious combination of the West and the Oriental have resulted in many interesting works of arts conveying Vietnamese values in both lacquer and do paper paintings.”

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Unlike his lacquer paintings with their large swathes of solid colors, Linh’s do paper paintings are in lighter, softer colors and more abstract. In a painting called “Fading”, he meticulously arranges tiny strings on the do paper. Anne Coralie Phachan, President of Victoria Gallery, says she is particularly impressed with Linh’s use of strings on do papers and building them on canvas. She describes the strings as the path of the painter’s creativity because the color will gradually fade away making the strings, like the painter’s creativity, more prominent.

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Art brings people of different cultures closer together. Linh’s paintings are bringing French art lovers closer to the Vietnamese people.