Painting exhibition with Tễu features human emotion

July 19, 2022 - 13:13
A collection of 55 paintings featuring Tễu, a famous traditional humorous puppet, will be displayed at an exhibition this week in the capital city centre.
Artist Nguyễn Đức Lâm uses the image of Tễu, a traditional humorous puppet, to reflect emotions.

HÀ NỘI — A collection of 55 paintings featuring Tễu, a famous traditional humorous puppetry character, will be displayed at an exhibition this week in the capital city centre.

Themed Khoảng Trắng (Empty Soul), it will run for five days from July 23 and show a series of selected works by contemporary painter Nguyễn Đức Lâm from his 20 years of artistic career. It is a combination of stories about human emotion in life, narratives, dreams and journeys.

"I choose the image of Tễu to tell such stories through paintings because Tễu is a very good character with many hidden meanings in traditional puppet performances," said Lâm.

"Tễu can laugh at both right and wrong things and is always brave to mock behaviour. He can play many roles from someone who offers praise or a commentator, to a narrator and a critic,"

Many of Lâm's works contain spiritual aspects as they penetrate deep into the human subconsciousness including that of himself.

The image of Tễu in his paintings also exposes the character of arrogant laughter but behind such a funny face is always hiding human moral situations including misery and suffering.

It is full of emotions such as hope, contentment, bitterness and sweetness, according to the artist.

Contemporary artist Nguyễn Đức Lâm.

Lâm, 43, said he wanted to share his experiences of special dreams about humans and the world where he found Tễu was very relevant to help him express his feeling about life.

He said: "I used to have long dreams in which I saw myself in another realm looking to the world of human beings who are immersed, confused, tramped on each other with so many states of joy and anger. I then screamed helplessly."

Lâm uses (poonah) paper, Indian ink, gouache colour and acrylic as the main materials for his works.

The artist flexibly applies different painting techniques without following any formula.

As poonah paper is often smeared and smudged he can rely on that characteristic when drawing to master it in controlling the colour or letting it smudge for his own purpose.

The artist added: "I use some materials at the same time when drawing including Indian ink, gouache and acrylic. I make full use of the slickness, smudging of the ink and gouache because these two materials have a better spreadability on poonah paper than acrylic."

The artist flexibly applied different techniques while creating without following any formula. He said he relied much on his own perception of materials and colours.

In this exhibition, he selected 55 pieces of different sizes, marking a transformation and affirming his nuances in his artistic career.

One of Lâm's works to be displayed at the exhibition open from July 23-27 at 29 Hàng Bài Street, Hà Nội's Hoàn Kiếm District.

Artist and writer Nguyễn Đình Chính praised Lâm and his works saying that over the past 20 years, with more than 10 group exhibitions, Lâm has set a "distinctive imprint" in the contemporary art community.

His paintings gradually got over the relative estimated beauty which is perceived by the standard of the artist's "dualistic mindset" and is also the first condition of value of any artwork in painting, music and poetry, according to Chính. ​

Lâm's paintings had reached the second value condition which is a more difficult standard of discovery of his distinctive true ego shown in each of the artist's works.

"With 55 works in this event-his first solo exhibition, Lâm has shown that he is trying to reach the third but harder final standard which is still hesitantly expressed through his art," Chính said.

"The third standard is also a requirement to express his pain but also sympathy and sharing with human suffering, shame, impermanence and miseries immersed in greed, hatred and ignorance. This third standard is indispensable in the artwork.

"It reflects intelligent wisdom nourished and glowing by a heart full of love, a humble, pure and selfless mind that convey great joy and clean energy to help viewers explore their deep hidden egos."

Khoảng Trắng exhibition will take place until July 27 at 29 Hàng Bài Street, Hoàn Kiếm District. VNS