Recognising himself as an aestheticism-inclined painter, Ta Duy said he was pleased to make silk paintings that show off the beauty of the unique space of the Flamingo Dai Lai Art Exhibition - Art In The Forest 2018.
Beauty is put on top
I first met Ta Duy when he was arranging paintings for Flamingo Art Space – Art In the Forest in 2018. He brought four watercolor paintings on silk. These works of art are part of his inspiration to use new materials since May 2018. Previously, he made watercolor paintings on paper and after his first solo exhibition called The Start in April 2018, he started to explore silk materials.
The four watercolor paintings are as a set of paintings about the seasons in a year: February Rain, Early Spring, Early Autumn and End of Fall. They can be new in terms of materials and expression but they all stay in the subject circle that Ta Duy has pursued so far: the simple beauty of nature. Ta Duy also admits that his paintings are not abstract. They are very clear: “I am not a person lost in a world that is so vague and abstract. The themes, things and phenomena I exploit from life are simple and ordinary. They are the simple beauty of life.” What Ta Duy wishes to “hunt” is true beauty. “I am a painter who tends towards aestheticism,” he said. The first thing he cares about is that his paintings must be beautiful, and how that beauty will diffuse in the viewers’ mind and how they perceive the idea is up to them.
Photo 1: Ta Duy brings a set of four paintings about four seasons to contemporary art exhibition Art of The Forest, evoking romantic feelings about real life.
Also as a beauty follower, Ta Duy was like a “duck takes to water” when he was invited to participate in Art In The Forest 2018. “In my opinion, this is the most unique art space in Vietnam so far. It is very modern but oriented towards nature, simplicity and romance. The idea of setting up artwork spaces made of containers in a 40 year old pine forest was very interesting,” said Ta Duy. The young chivalrousartist of Hanoi who puts beauty on top was satisfied: “I always expect my works to be displayed in the most solemn position possible, because the works can show off its beauty. A space like Art In The Forest has allowed me to satisfy the desire for my works. This is an opportunity that not every young artist is lucky enough to have.”
A nostalgic 1980s man
It is said that, in order to pursue watercolor painting, before talent or perseverance is taken into account, an artist needs a bit of nostalgia and a love of classic oriental culture. Regarding this, artist Ta Duy shared that the nostalgia and love of oriental culture he has is not only “a bit.” He is truly passionate about it. The oriental culture has seeped into Ta Duy since his first painting. His family has a Confucian tradition and everything around him has the breath of that culture. He admits his thinking, actions andnature are not as “Western-oriented” as most of his friends born in the same generation of the 80s.
That oriental world has driven Ta Duy to watercolor paintings since he was a child. From his father's bookcase, he was exposed to masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese artists such as Xu Beihong, Qi Baishi, Ogata Korin, Kano Sansetsu and so on. However, there was no specialised training in watercolor painting in Vietnam, so Ta Duy only dreamed about it secretly. In five years studying at the school of Vietnam Fine Arts, Ta Duy was taught all kinds of art but he still found that was not enough. It was only when he received a scholarship from the Chinese Academy of Fine Arts in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, that he just quenched his thirst. Four years for a Master degree at China’s largest and oldest school forwatercolor painting helped him find his true self and live his life.
Photo 2: Passion for watercolor painting has stayed inside Duy since childhood.
Up to now, Vietnam has had only two properly trained painters. Besides Ta Duy, the other is Le Xuan Dung, lecturer of Vietnam Fine Arts, the first person to take Ta Duy to watercolor paintings, teaching him how to hold the pen and how to mix ink.
Although Ta Duy’s main career is drawing, the job bringing the main source of income to feed his passion is being a lecturer in the Department of Graphic Arts at FPT University. Ta Duy shared that he has not felt bothered when he is not able to “live up” by drawing. “I am content with life just enough, having food and clothes and having time for creativity. The joy of creativity is my top priority, bread and butter comes after,” said the painter born in 1989. Without putting too much stake in material things and his reputation, Ta Duy has kept on painting with passion.
Photo 3: The space of Flamingo Dai Lai Resort where exhibition Art In The Forest takes place.
Artist Ta Duy has been invited to participate in several domestic and overseas exhibitions such as the 2016 Hangzhou International Student Exhibition, the 2017 Hangzhou Graduation Exhibition, the 2nd and 3rd March Connecting International Exhibition at the Hanoi University of Industrial Fine Art and the Sasaran International Exhibition in Malaysia 2018. His first personal exhibition entitled “The Start” was held at the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum in April 2018.
Art In The Forest is a visual arts program for the community held annually since 2015. In 2016, the program was voted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in the top five national typical fine arts events and Vietnam Record Association also set a record “Resort has the largest art space by lake in Vietnam” for Flamingo Dai Lai Resort. Art In The Forest 2018 will take place from 1 December, 2018 through May 2019 with the participation of nine sculptors and painters.