It was by pure luck that I stumbled into the Apricot Gallery in Hanoi, that hot afternoon, in august, 2007. Air conditioning, thanks! Up to now I had only seen the copy-artists in Ho Chi Min City, Van Gogh as favorite artist to beat, and in this Gallery I saw for the first time a laquer-painting of Nguyen Quoc Huy: Village after harvest time. What did me strike in this laquer painting? The subject? Just a group of farmhouses, sheds, trees in autumn color, heaps of hay, dry gardensoil. The composition? A fine play of lines, horizontal, vertical and diagonal, proportions according the golden rule: a : b = b : a+b. The colors? Fine grades of brick-red, brown, silver and gold. The medium? Laquer- paste, a natural paste to be moddelled, hardened, sandpapered etc. Work from an artist and a craftsman with a lot of patience. Or is it still more, a state of mind: respect for nature: nature is nice enough to represent it as it is; no expressionist deformation or exuberance. The medium is the medium: where the number of colors is retricted, an interplay between two colors has to be created. Building a painting like a craftman that builds a piece of fine furniture.
The laquer painting is now hanging in my dutch sittingroom. The changing halve light of the dutch autumn is playing with the silvery and golden surface, creating changing depth and shades.
A nice souvenir of a holiday of three weeks Vietnam, a souvenir that fits in in an old Asian tradition of seeing and representing the world. Keep that tradition alife!
Thanks Nguyen Quoc Huy!