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IntroductionBui Huu Hung’s art addresses universal themes, telling stories of longing, love, and loneliness. Most of his very detailed portraits present beautiful young women from the Emperor’s court. The pieces’ powerful colour schemes of blue, gold, red, and green create an inescapable sense of melancholy. Each image seems to contain a hidden story or secret that we can only uncover if we understand the artist’s subtle symbolism. This figurative, narrative style is deeply rooted in traditional East Asian painting, but Hung gives it a surprisingly modern twist.
In the tradition of East Asian lacquer painting, layers of coloured, transparent lacquer are placed atop one other to create an extremely robust and durable work of art. Although Bui Huu Hung employs this time-honoured technique, his progressive approach is revolutionizing the genre. His compositions are simple, almost dissolving into abstraction. They create visual worlds detached from time and space. And yet, despite this stylistic departure from classical painting, each work references the traditional iconography of the Far East. Whether depicting an imperial bride on the day before her marriage dressed in an elaborate gown embroidered with dragon motifs or a lonely scholar on the river framed by a giant bamboo grove, Hung’s images are born of the past.
Bui Huu Hung began to focus on traditional lacquer painting after completing his studies at the Hanoi University of Fine Arts. He is a member of the International Association of Lacquer Painters and, since 1986, has worked to develop young artists at Nha Son Studio, the studio he founded in Hanoi. Hung is amongst Vietnam’s most famous contemporary artists. His work has been exhibited around the world, in both solo and group shows, and can also be found in prestigious collections.
1957 Born in Hanoi, Vietnam Studied at Hanoi University of Fine Arts, Hanoi, Vietnam 1996-Present Member of the International Lacquer Artists Association Lives and works in Hanoi, VietnamCollections
Singapore Art Museum, Singapore, Singapore Museum of Sydney, Sydney, Australia Vietnamese Embassy, Brussels, Belgium Vietnamese Embassy, London, UKExhibitions
2010 Recollection, Apricot Gallery, London, UK 2009 Nostalgia, Red Gallery, Dubai, United Arab Emirates 2005 Vietnam Nostalgia, Galerie J.G. Armengaud, Paris, France 2004 Bui Huu Hung’s Lacquers, Museum of the Americas, Miami, USA 1999 A Novel Traditional, Apricot Gallery, Hanoi, Vietnam
2006 Il Drago e la Farfalla, Vittoriano Museum, Rome, Italy 2003 First Beijing International Art Biennale, Beijing, China 2001 Seperate Paths, Dragon Gallery, Hanoi, Vietnam 1998 With Heart and Soul and Mind, New World Art Center, New York City, USA 1997 The Sacred Seasons, Notices Gallery, Singapore, Singapore 1996 Lacquer International, Fuitiija Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan