The Vietnamese Painter Dang Duong Bang shows his best in his traditional works

Wild garden

Art critic: Martijn Verhoeven

(Original in Dutch Leidendaglab 25 04 2005.Translation from Dutch into English by Prof. Dr. Pieter Telleman , Director of Institute of Micro and Nano-Technology (MIC) Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Lyngby, Denmark.)

On the second floor of Gallery Amber there is an oil painting of a monastery garden in the South of France. The garden was painted very simple and structural like style and a monk in front was built up out of basic geometrical figures. Two colours – hard- pink and deep blue are dominate the painting. The simple in styling of the figures and the strong and hard contrast of the colours seems inspiration of the works of Henry Matisse – the French painter who was famous with his group “Les Fauves” in the beginning of the twenty century but the works in Gallery Amber are painted by Vietnamese artist Dang Duong Bang (Born in Hanoi 1951).

Following on the wall, there is a painting of lovers. A man and a naked woman have their eyes for nothing else than for each other, and an enormous bouquet of wild flowers seems to be growing out of the head of the man. In this painting the two figures are painted through each other: The embracing couple is immersed inside of a still life made in white contour with flowers. The painting with its fairy-tale like images reminds the admirer many works of Marc Chagall.

Every painting on this floor reminds of the style of well-known Japanese or European artists. You will imagine of the whole history of modern Western art seems to be appeared in a long wall and you would almost forget that all these paintings are painted by one and by the same artist. According to the press notice Bang has been touch with modern Western art at the Academic Des Beaux Art – “Beaux-art” for many year in Vietnam. It seems that in the early state of his carrier, the artist so fascinated by all new Western art or Asian art strongly influenced by the West and that with his enthusiasm he has forgotten to develop a “hand-writing” style of his own.

Bang paintings on the second floor are very colour full and varied in forms. However, his more recent paintings on the ground floor are very basic in forms and colour. The influence of Bang’s background – the Vietnamese traditional folk arts are much stronger. There are different versions of a large still life with lotus flowers. In each version, the flowers are arranged differently or the colour combinations are switched. The reddish-brown background seems to be massive but looked upon closely one can see it built up out of paint-strokes which suggest spaces. In these paintings the artist shows he is a master in restriction: with a few striking life forms using only the out lines of the objects for making the composition while the colour draw the mood. Especially, in a series of the coming and ending of a storm it is worth admiring at: With the least of materials- Bang just uses only the black ink on rice paper – He created four different skies and uses the black colour differently in each painting therefore each sky reflects different mood …

Bang’s choice to express himself on the basic of his Vietnamese traditional background and style has proven to be a step in the right direction for him to a great success.

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