|Looking ahead: A viewer examines the Head series by Vu Pham Truong Minh, with part of Italian sculptor Spitu's work visible in the right corner of the photo. — VNS Photo Khanh Chi
HA NOI (VNS) — In search of a path towards free expression and moving beyond "the chaos of psychological conflicts in modern life", an Italian and two Vietnamese artists are joining in an art exhibition.
Sponsored by the Italian embassy in Ha Noi, as part of the Italy-Viet Nam 2014 programme, the exhibition, entitled Transcendence, features art works by sculptor Giuseppe Strano Spitu and his Vietnamese counterparts, Bang Sy Truc and Vu Pham Truong Minh, who display different educational, cultural backgrounds and creative styles.
On display are Spitu's sculpture made of synthetic materials, Truc's trio of landscapes, which are introspective and dense with atmosphere, and Minh's Head series.
The Italian artist called his work Meditation, which looks like a flat web of black and white wire interlacing with each other. And this meditation is not the type found in Buddhism, but a type of meditation to seek for the self.
"My idea is that spirituality and energy should be looked for and must flow into tangible reality, not into asceticism. Spirituality and materiality are intrinsically linked. Special lighting effects on the works will, at the same time, fire the feeling of ethereal and material appearance," said Spitu, who attended a workshop at the Muong Cultural Space Museum in Hoa Binh Province two years ago. The museum still displays some of his stone sculptures.
"Spitu's works are very unusual," said artist and critic Phan Cam Thuong. "The sculptural quality lies more in the creative process than the finished statues. His sculptural behaviours enable the viewers to understand the sculptor's sensation of the world."
Truc's monochromatic [red, blue and black] pieces capture the simplicity of Viet Nam's countryside, directing focus towards the quietness of the landscape. Colour, many layers of the same shade, is his tool of description.
"It's better to let the viewers feel my works on their own. The understanding of each individual is broad and different. If you are happy, you may feel nothing when looking at the black one. But it really works when you are sad," Truc said. "The simpler I draw, the better I convey what I mean to the viewers."
Minh, the youngest artist, chooses pop-art style to express, simultaneously, all the images from his journey, going beyond the ordinary chronological order and drawing from his readings, his visual experiences and from the notion of religion and power. He pursued his Head series since 2012 with the objective to engage with others in the most direct and quickest way. Using strong and contrasting colours, Minh showcases his imagination, as each head contains different subjects, such as a nude woman, a deserted church, a statue of Buddha, or simply a white cloud.
"Perhaps I'm sort of classical, so I'm particularly fond of the trio of landscape [by Truc]. It's open and does not limit the imagination of viewers," said a woman visitor.
"With the red paint, you can see it as dawn or dusk. With the black one, you can find hills, mountains, a village, an immense field, and many others. They are realistic, but also abstract," Hong Mai said, while stepping back and forth, and right and left to look at the paintings from different angles and distances.
"At the beginning, I even see them as something to decorate the white-painted wall. It's perfect if viewers' imagination and the artist' ideas match," she said.
Art critic Thuong added: "It can be said that the art presented by these three artists is uncommon, and not a popular type of language.
"It shows how important the life and behaviours of artists are, being even greater than their art works. If one can read that from their art works, it is obvious that these three artists are worth seeing and contemplating."
The exhibit will be on display until May 2 at the Casa Italia, 18 Le Phung Hieu Street, Ha Noi. — VNS