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Abstractions invoke Hanoi's balconies (March 22, 2005)

Old living quarters with balconies serve as Bao Ha's most interesting subjects.
Oil painter Nguyen Bao Ha puts his feelings about the changes of Hanoi on display in the exhibit called Hanoi Diagonal, on view at the Hilton Hanoi Opera Hotel.

Impressed by changes which seem normal to other people, Mr Ha expresses his intense emotional reactions in his paintings.

The 16 works in the exhibit are geo-metrical combinations of striking blocks of colour that are like the rooftops of tiny houses in the crowded Old Quarter, the outreaches of balconies precariously jutting out over the pavement.

The old is being phased out, said Mr Ha, while the new is being superimposed in these places.

"In a modem society, these kind of stretched-balcony buildings should no longer exist even though they were necessary elements decades ago.

In my point of view, they have their own voice, creating typical spaces in the city's life. In the future, they will disappear, but they will remain in my paintings," Mr Ha continued.

Mr Ha himself used to live in an old flat with an over-hanging balcony like this. His love for his apartment grew out of the familiar as pects of it he encountered everyday.

With paintings in hot colours that evoke life and passion, Mr Ha wants to attract viewers' attention to changes in the city while also recording his feelings for the old;

Colours are skilfully combined. Patches of red, yellow, and orange inter-twine with smaller dapples of deep browns, blacks of dark greens, creating an un-interrupted rhythm allowing people to discern where the surface ends and where the inside begins.

With the paintings, Mr Ha has sounded his own emotional note in abstract variations of Hanoi, mixing pithy comments on the old days with modern features of a blooming urban centre.

Mr Ha, 34, graduated from Hanoi Fine Arts College and is a member of the Vietnam Fine Arts Association. He has participated in many local and international exhibitions.

He is now an exclusive artist of Hanoi's Mai Gallery. Hanoi Diagonal is his first solo show.

The show will run at the Hilton Hanoi Opera Hotel, 1 Le ThanhTong Street, through the end of April.

Reprinted from VietNamNet


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