Monday, October 24 2016


Water puppetry director portrays friends through art

Update: March, 08/2016 - 08:37

HÀ NỘI - When Thành Chương looks at his portrait painted by fellow artist Chu Lượng, he personally feels his other self, who may have wandered somewhere or existed inside him but he hasn't noticed.
Chương, a painter himself, has hundreds of self-portraits. Yet he's still surprised, proud and interested in the portrait painted by his friend, Lượng.
"I think my self-portraits described me exactly and certain characteristics," Chương said.
"However, when I see myself in Lượng's painting, I recognise another me, one found and understood by Lượng,” he said. “In this way, another Thành Chương was added to the existing Thành Chương, making me more complete."
He is just one of 50 famous artists who will appear in an ongoing exhibition of portraits painted by Lượng, currently on display at Exhibition House.
"Through the exhibition and through fine arts, Lượng connects friends together. He uses art to connect people," Chương said.
"Thanks to Lượng, we have a chance to enjoy an atmosphere of art, which combines purity and kindness. Lượng is absolutely fair-minded and innocent. He paints us then gives us the portraits as presents. We are all moved by that."
When Lượng finishes a painting, he gathers a group of close friends at a coffee shop they regularly visit. The newly-finished painting is covered with a cloth. He always asks his friends to guess who's in the portrait. When the painting is uncovered, people realise the familiar faces of writer Nguyễn Quang Thiều, painter Thành Chương, writer Nguyễn Văn Thọ, poet Mai Văn Phấn and many others.
After the big unveil, the conversation circles around the person portrayed.
"That's the cultural activity we highly appreciate,” Chương said.
Lượng was born in 1960 and now works as vice director of the Thăng Long Water Puppet Theatre.
"How fortunate I am," he said. "I feel truly lucky to be born into a family from a land with such rich cultural tradition - a place where I can nurture my creative passion amidst the artistic space of water puppetry."
"I'm all the more lucky to bare witness to a period of time in which war has subsided and peace is on the horizon. My good health helps me overcome many difficulties and allows me to live and become fully immersed in my work in the capital city of Hà Nội."
However, he still feels surrounded by an unknown emptiness, something he can't fully understand. But while looking at his beloved friends, who have spent countless hours drinking tea and conversing about art and life with him, he starts to have a change of heart.
"Thinking about them, their personalities and virtue makes my soul tranquil," he said.
An idea flashed in his mind: portray them. So he started the work at his office in his free time.
"I consider it a way to escape the feelings of emptiness during the painting process,” he said.
His friends encouraged him to paint more and organise an exhibition – an idea that was brought to fruition. The exhibition expresses his gratitude to his friends and shows the internal life and personalities of famous artists.
The exhibition will run until Sunday, March 13 at Exhibition House, 45 Tràng Tiền Street, Hà Nội. VNS

Actor Trung Hiếu,writer Nguyễn Văn Thọ and artist Quốc Chiêm are among famous faces portrayed by director Chu Lượng. VNS Photos


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