Bui 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, Vietnam|
|Singapore Art Museum, Singapore, Singapore|
|Museum of Sydney, Sydney, Australia|
|Vietnamese Embassy, Brussels, Belgium|
|Vietnamese Embassy, London, UK|
|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|