Soul Reflections: Four Vietnamese Artists Look Back


2006-02-10
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Pink Lotus, by Do Duy Tuan. Photo: galeriebrigitte.com >> See the slideshow

WASHINGTON—A U.S.-based exhibit is showcasing the work of four Saigon-trained Vietnamese artists, whose disparate works weave common themes of remembrance in the wake of great loss.

“Hồn Việt: Transcending Traditions” displays paintings from four male artists from Vietnam who were trained in schools other than the well-known Hanoi School of Art.

According to the curators at Galerie Brigitte in Fairfax, Virginia: “We choose to maintain ‘Hồn Việt’ in its original Vietnamese form as there is no absolute interpretation of this term.”

Neither "Vietnamese Soul" nor "the Soul of Vietnam" could convey the accurate representation of a Vietnamese nature...its traditions, its customs, its heart, its mind, its thoughts, its spirit, its touch and feel, its senses and sensibility.

“Neither ‘Vietnamese Soul’ nor ‘the Soul of Vietnam’ could convey the accurate representation of a Vietnamese nature which encompasses all characteristics of a Vietnamese being—its traditions, its customs, its heart, its mind, its thoughts, its spirit, its touch and feel, its senses and sensibility,” said a statement on the Web site of the World Bank, which hosted the exhibit for one month in late 2005.

The show aimed “to allow a Vietnamese at heart to reminisce a past long gone and to embody a tomorrow of hope,” the statement said.

To do so, it settled on the works of four seasoned artists whose works embodied a nostalgia experienced by other Vietnamese living overseas.

Young Maiden 1, by Nguyen Lam. Photo: galeriebrigitte.com

Dubbed “The Fabulous Four,” the artists—Hồ Hữu Thủ, Nguyễn Lâm, Lê Vượng, and Đỗ Duy Tuấn—have each developed their own distinctive feel, especially in the use of texture, form, and substance.

However, there are common threads of surrealism, expressionism, and impressionism running through their work.

Original reporting in Vietnamese by Phuong Anh. Vietnamese service director: Diem Nguyen. Produced for the Web in English by Luisetta Mudie.

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