Vietnam Art Books -- Artistís introspection turns outward

Artistís introspection turns outward

Portrait, by Nguyen Xuan Long.
HA NOI ó A strong desire to look at his life as an outsider would, inspired Nguyen Xuan Long to create his first solo exhibition Portrait.

"Besides reflecting on the surrounding world, my favourite theme in most of my works is myself and how I change with time," Long said.

Starting work on the series at the beginning of 2001, he said he wanted to use images of himself to speak about the relation between the individual and the surrounding world.

Painting portraits of a person in different social situations, at different points of time, can reveal more of the subject and the surrounding social life in a unique way, he said.

He believes a personís portrait is more than just a face because people can read portraits like books. The viewer can gain an understanding of the spiritual life of the subject as well as the social life depicted in the painting.

"In short, a face is imprinted with a personality and a society. So thereís much more space and dimension to explore if I donít limit myself to depicting a face only," Long said.

The most widely recognised painting of the series is Self-portrait II, which was awarded a recognition certificate at the Philip Morris Asean Fine Art Awards 2001-02.

A graduate from the Ha Noi Fine Art College in 1997, Long participated in several group exhibitions before working on his first solo exhibition.

Long began his career as an abstract artist, producing many works consisting of shades of white.

White Illusion and Marketplace in Mountainous Area are two of the most well recognised works from his abstract phase. The first won a recognition certificate at the 1997 Philip Morris Asean Art Awards. The second was awarded 1997ís best graduate work for oil on canvas, and first prize in the 1990-2000 prominent graduate works exhibition at the Ha Noi Fine Art College.

Since 1998, he has painted in the expressionist tradition. Long said he chose to change styles so he could "look for another language for my art which can not only better tell my stories but also inspire viewers to think about things beyond the paintings and provide a deeper level of dialogue via painting."

The exhibition Portrait, incorporating 30 of Longís latest works, all on do or poonah paper, will run till November 2 at the Goethe Institute, 54-56 Hang Duong street, Ha Noi.

Reprinted with permission from VietNam News Agency.


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