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Artists unite hearts and minds (October 31, 2006)

An artist and a friend: One of the portraits of Tran Trung Tin by Rienke Enghardt, part of the Connection exhibition.
HA NOI — An exhibit currently on display in Ha Noi depicts the crossing of boundaries to foster connections against the odds.

The exhibit, entitled Connection, draws together abstract paintings by Vietnamese artist Tran Trung Tin, portraits of Tin by Enghardt Rienke and other works by the Dutch artist.

According to Suzanne Lecht, art director of Art Viet Nam Gallery, the juxtaposition of the two artists’ works "emphasises the power of uniting hearts and minds".

Rienke, who met Tin in 1993 and developed a close friendship with him, agrees that the paintings in the exhibit produce a sense of harmony.

Born in Sai Gon in 1933, Tin has earned a reputation among the most elite art circles in the country for his poignant paintings.

"Tin is like a bird singing in the desert," late painter Bui Xuan Phai said.

According to Lecht, Tin’s works depict the beauty and the sadness of life as well as the strength and vulnerability of the human spirit.

Deeply moved by Tin’s art works and his pacifist philosophy, Rienke produced a body of portraits to express her admiration of her friend.

"I wanted to make a portrait of an artist and friend who dreams of great things, who works like a nightingale sings: because such is his nature," Rienke said.

In addition to 10 abstract paintings by Tin and Rienke’s portraits of Tin, 10 of her Weather Report compositions are also on display.

She first began visiting Viet Nam in 1991 as the concept of her Weather Report project was beginning to take shape. While travelling around the world, Rienke sketched drawings as she explored various local art scenes. At the end of each journey she would cut the drawings into four pieces and distribute the pieces among an ever-changing group of four artists, one from the location of the drawing, one from her homeland and the other two from parts of the world she had visited previously.

Using Rienke’s drawing as a jumping-off point, each artist then works individually to create his or her contribution. A Weather Report work is complete when the four parts are put back together, uniting five unique points of view. The border-crossing works of art are then exhibited in the countries of the artists.

"Like so many artists, I want to create an image of reality, and I strive to reach the point where contradictions cease to exist. Contradictions are maintained by borders, which can be explored, overstepped and raised," Rienke said.

Among the visitors impressed by the show was Mark S Rapoport, who particularly enjoyed the Weather Report paintings.

"The Weather Report series is wonderful, a complex but organic cycle. Ideas becoming art, art fertilising art, and finally the explosion becoming an implosion. And there you have it: new art," Rapoport said.

The exhibit runs through November 10 at the Art Viet Nam Gallery at 30 Hang Than Street in Ha Noi. — VNS

Reprinted with permission from Vietnam News Agency


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