Wooden carved paintings exhibition by artist Tran Nguyen Dan

(VOVworld) - The gallery of woodblocks and paintings titled “Carving stroke from tradition to modern” by famous Vietnamese painter Tran Nguyen Dan was staged recently in Hanoi. The exhibition showcased more than 100 selected woodcut paintings and woodblocks, located in the private collection of Nguyen Thi Thu Hoa – Director of the Hanoi Museum of Ceramics.

Tran Nguyen Dan is among the very few Vietnamese artists who have chosen to make woodblock paintings and remained dedicated to this kind of art for nearly half a century. He started his career in 1967 and has been working in wood-carving continuously since then. In 2007 he was proudly presented with the State Award for Literature and Arts, Vietnam’s second highest honor after the Ho Chi Minh Award. After nearly 50 years of composing and preserving the artworks at Dan’s private home, so far, more than half of his carved paintings were finally showcased at the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum at 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc St. On the first day of the exhibit, the artist introduced his work:  “The artworks are comprised of paintings and woodblocks that I created between 1967 and 2015. This exhibition also comprises 3 of the 5 artworks that earned me the State Award for Literature and Arts in 2007. These artworks vary between themes of nature and people, places that I’ve been to like Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An, and the ethnic minority regions across Vietnam. The smallest carved painting measures 15 by 20 cm, while the biggest one is 103 by 200 cm.”

Wooden carved paintings exhibition by artist Tran Nguyen Dan - ảnh 1
Nhi Khe Village (Source: Hanoigrapevine)

 Tran Nguyen Dan’s artworks are renowned for depicting the beauty of Vietnam, its land and people in a simple, lyrical and soulful style. Through the half a century of many ups and downs in the country’s history, as well as the personal life of the artist, surprisingly all the paintings in this collection are all kept carefully as newly carved. The paintings illustrate the artist’s talent in using contrasting colors, complex layouts, intricate carvings and involves a successful combination of traditional and modern features. Talking about his artworks, Dan said: “For me, wood carving and painting is a way to express my feelings and my aesthetic concepts. I learned the quintessence of Dong Ho, Hang Trong, Sinh folk woodcut paintings and sometimes, the carving techniques of Western countries; afterwards I transferred them to my art. I apply the suitable techniques in each woodblock to showcase my personality. But, in fine arts, the most important thing is the feeling. Only when you love your homeland and look at the people around you with that love, will you successfully nail your artwork.”

Wooden carved paintings exhibition by artist Tran Nguyen Dan - ảnh 2
Hoi An blues: Night in Hoi An, a painting by Tran Nguyen Đan (Photo: Truong Vi)

Wooden carved paintings exhibition by artist Tran Nguyen Dan - ảnh 3
Painting ‘The water buffaloes are the largest fortunes (Photo: Cubird.com)

Đán combines great skill and many unique features of the Vietnamese folk art of painting. Even using simple tools, he is able to turn pieces of wood into masterpieces depicting the way of life and the traditions of the people. Some of his prominent artworks showcased at the exhibition were “Night in Hoi An”, “Paddy transplanting”, “The buffaloes are the largest fortune”, 3 of the 5 artworks that earned him the State Award for Literature and Arts in 2007, including “Hang Trong folklore painting artists”, “Hard work hard study”, and “Thang Long – Dong Do- Ha Noi”. Director of the Hanoi Museum of Ceramics Nguyen Thi Thu Hoa, who is the owner of the collection, felt proud to have collected more than 100 works by the talented artist. She said:“This is the first painter whose artworks I’ve collected systematically, from the early stage of his career to his latest creations. I think Tran Nguyen Dan is an indispensable element in Vietnam’s woodblock map. He acts as a bridge connecting the traditional and the modern. ”

Wooden carved paintings exhibition by artist Tran Nguyen Dan - ảnh 4
Hanoi's Hang Trong folklỏe painting artists - one of five paintings that earned Dan the State Award for Literature and Arts in 2007 (VNA)

A visitor to the exhibition, Duong Thuy Quynh, couldn’t conceal her interest about the artworks. She said:“The meticulous art of Tran Nguyen Dan really impresses me. His 100 works, including woodblocks and printings, show the ability of the talented artist in carving and creating. His artworks not only capture the quintessence of Vietnamese traditional folk woodcut like Dong Ho, Hang Trong, and Kim Hoang, but also remain the artistic personality and the creation of the artist.”  

The exhibition is hoped to raise young people’s awareness of woodblocks and wooden carved paintings, as well as help them understand more about this special kind of art, and Vietnamese traditional values.




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