LUU CONG NHAN’S PATHS

He was a tall, talented, charming, knowledgeable and polite like a male character who only exitsts in poet and romance story. He was raised in a wealthy family, had an overwhelming political background, an excelent academic foundation of all the counterparts  and he was really hard working. And above all, he had talent in art. His works was phenomena. But his career path was not easy because he want to follow his own path.

Studying in Viet Bac, as a typical wanderer, when  drawing, he also felt the harmony with love and used elegant curves with beautiful colors. Influenced by his teacher To Ngoc Van, perhaps because of the same talents and the love with the smooth and the liberty within the perfection and can not accept the sloppy style in his professional works.

Women - the residence of Beauty – is the main theme in his artworks. However in Luu Cong Nhan, beside the elegance as in “Beside the lily flower” is the simplicity of “Countryside woman”, as well as “The little guerilla woman” which have never been seen in Vietnamese paintings. He followed the lyrical style of Indochinese painting with the optimistic reality of the Resistance War. Talents showed up very soon. Watercolor paintings from the 1950s to 1960s depicted rural landscapes: bamboo and oval (not many people could draw oval that beautiful), village gates and alleys; and the "new people": pigs raiser, conscripted labourer, postman, female workers or the security man ... are masterpieces not only technically.


It is not surprising that when workers - farmers was the absolute subject of socialist realism, Luu Cong Nhan’s oil paintings such as “Early Plough”, “Erasing Illiteracy” or female workers in “On The Truck” immediately became the typical artworks for this type of composition. Human imagery was described realistically as well as symbolically. Here we can see the full process of compositions from noting to finding the layout, building the typical character and technically handling in a delicate and fine way. In terms of the professional skills required for that method, he was one of the most accomplished artists in Vietnam at that time.


High professionalism made him self-demanding. His first demand of all is that he must draw. Continuously painting and doing nothing else (managing, being a leader or teaching...). In general difficulty, he always collected for himself the best conditions for composition. Here after the pompous, laughter, life was a rare source of strength. He learned hardly, research deeply about Oriental and Western art. He had spent years painting abstract just to declare: it is not his true method of painting. And he sincerely advised young artists on what they did not like to hear. He used a few years to travel to paint landscape artworks and nude artworks in Chinese ink stick. But his residence is still in Vinh Phu, Da Lat or Saigon. He drew his wife, children, grandchildren, models whom he was infatuated in, infatuated with pictures and colors, with "ma-tre" - expression - of paint and strokes rather than character. He became a typical aestheticist.


In still-life paintings, it seems that the painter sought an East-West integration, or at least a separate area. He did not stick to the objects (Eastern) coexisting with the material sense (West). His bottles, his jars look rustic, lonely blossomed petals,.... And color, pen strokes are still passionate, gentle like the young girls. Personality is hard to change. It is the foundation for a personal style. Those who do not have their own will face difficulty to sail on the sea of art no matter how hard working they are. Many of his famous paintings depict the French blockhouse on the highway. There are kilometer pole, with tree and simple store. The road is the critical part of the Resistance War, of daily life, of affection and meet, of appointment and separation. The cement blockhouse is always still there as a past and history. It does not lose whether you say it win or lose. It was there that the fate of the war was decided, it was on that road when a stage of history passed. It was there when the colonization had failed but the French-Vietnamese cultural mix had taken place. Looking at the shadow of the blockhouse, I saw the shadow of the soldier (whom he considered his own shadow?) in front of the white road. What did the painter say? Or did him just breathe in his own time, even when he was "shy", when he was caught breathing in it?

He was radical in his consciousness so he was "democratic" with his younger generation. Therefore, I can write my post in this tone about our elder.

 

Painter - Critic Nguyen Quan.