I have started painting since 2007, when I was 14 years old. My first painting was “Coming down to the market” (100cmx120cm) by oil on canvas that my mother who is also an artist gave me. “You can draw anything you want. This one is yours, so you can create it by yourself freely. If it is broken, you can draw another one, draw more, and think more, may be they are not so good but that will be helpful for you” she said. Then, I started drawing. Luckily, the first painting was brought to participate in exhibition at Vietnam Fine Arts Museum by the culture and tourism department with the theme of ethnic minority people of some Northern provinces won for the second prize. At that time, everybody was surprised. For me, I participated in it also just with a hope to be displayed, not for prize. It was my happiness but also a big pressure because if my next art works were not successful then, I could not overcome myself.
Since 2007, I have participated in some of periodic exhibitions of Vietnam Fine Art association, of international exhibition between Vietnam and Korea, of national exhibition at Ethnology museum. The newest exhibition was at Denmark embassy. Luckily, I have affirmed my style time by time. At first, I had passion with oil material but after that I knew that oil was not for me. So I did not use that material much anymore, I only painted four to five oil paintings a year. I have found a new material that is Rhamnoneuron paper (also called Do paper). Rhamnoneuron paper is an ancient paper, and it has appeared for hundreds of years to draw folk paintings or to write documents because it is very durable. It is made in a very hardy traditional method. When I came to this material, I thought that paper has had a traditional form, I should bring something about the modern life into it for integration. So each of my painting has thought of youthfulness, as well as to find my own style.
I usually focus on people and nature in my art works because people are the center of universe, and nature is something that surrounds and protecting but also can destroy human beings. These two factors cannot always be divided. Through these central images, I want to direct human beings to freedom, love, and permanent joys as well as the philosophy of the Three Eternal Values of Life that people always want to move towards. They are the values of honesty, kindness, and beauty
By Nguyen Nghia Phuong — Hanoi, July 2015
Studying at Hanoi University of Industrial Fine Art, Dang Viet Linh is passionate about creating independent artworks. While the Industrial Fine Art University requires logical thinking, Linh’s artwork is utterly free, spontaneous, and almost skips all regular, schooling rules for creating shapes in a painting. These are the first observations when knowing Dang Viet Linh and admiring his artworks. Is there actually any conflict at all? To take it into consideration, there is no contrast between Plastic Art and Industrial Art, each has its own function. In visual art today, freedom, recklessness and “unusual feature” are always appealing, even in practical art or pure art. To have something that unusual in his artwork, the artist has to be up on the air and dare to “dream”, dreaming about a strange land, dreaming about a mystical, unreal place or a story streaming without opening and ending. To Dang Viet Linh, artists always dream and dream more about a world like Eden, where humans live without cultural or racial discrimination; only freedom, joy, happiness and kindness rule that land.
Being a very young artist, born in 1993, Dang Viet Linh is similar and yet dissimilar to other young people at his age. Born and growing up in an integrated world, obviously Linh together with his generation have a different eye on the whole world and the world inside each human being. Linh’s own art world is a melting pot of many cultural origins, a world consisted of stories that are both traditional and modern, bearing in it hidden questions from all ages and lands. Thinking that: the modern world is always flat and fair; all languages, cultures, races…are connected and overlapped to make the whole picture of a civilized and integrated society, Dang Viet Linh has created more than 20 psychedelic, surreal paintings. Linh’s artworks are the fusion and improvisation of bright flat block of colors to form a visual language with highly decorating patterns. Motifs in Linh’s paintings bear signals to recognize traditional culture and modern art of not only Vietnam but also many other countries in the world. Combining all these things in a big picture, the artist wishes to visualize his dream about an integration of all people in this planet because to him, we are all born in the same way, all have dreams and desires like each other.
The gouache on Do Paper paintings of Dang Viet Linh strike the viewers instantly by bright and joyful blocks of colors, just like they are happily dancing on the white wrinkled Do Paper. Almost all the shapes painted naturally float in a surreal space. Blocks of colors or details are separated by white lines, thus increasing the decorating purpose of flat blocks. This triggers a sense of a delightful and peaceful space of the viewers. The art images in Linh’s artworks are combinations of pluralism and multi-dimension; they are angels, white – winged magical horses , Botticelli’s Venus; dragon and phoenix from Eastern culture; musicians or dancers of Matisse; traditional and modern Vietnamese girls; ethnic people with colorful clothes; weird animals usually appeared on folk paintings in many places in the planet. Flying people, colorful concertos in Linh’s paintings seem like pouring from somewhere in European glass paintings, Middle Asian and Anatolian carpet decoration art; images derived from African, Latin American or Australian aboriginal culture; Vietnamese clothing and folk art; from religious art, to Renaissance art, and then to artworks by Henri Matisse, Gustav Klimt, paintings by Surrealism artists now and then. Generally, with syntheticism, Dang Viet Linh not only brings about an aesthetic, cultural space that has a sense of humanity, but also expresses sense and consciousness of a person in an integrated age. The art of Linh reflects naturally both the thinking and the emotions of nowadays young people, but also has a consistency in building images, icons and languages. This fact shows that the art arises and pours out of the artist’s heart, out of real dreams, dreams that are pure like children’s, dreams about a happy human society.
Paintings from “Mo” exhibition will be displayed at The Vietnam Nation Fine Arts Museum in the upcoming time are Linh’s journey to find the answer for the question: “Beyond our real, busy life that we know, is there any world?” Linh states that everything has its own soul and language. Reflecting his own obsession and adventure into dreams, immersing himself into his imaginary world to find freedom is a method that has been used by many artists before. However, struggling to find the answers for the artists’ mental concerns, for life desiring to reveal his soul, is endless. Each human being is a character, a small planet, so each artist has his own way to find that answer. The collection “Mo” of Dang Viet Linh is an ordinary dream with distinctive and yet, familiar visual language. Linh’s dream is also what all human’s wish: a good life that is always cheerful and free, where people cherish everything they own, live to their fullest, a bit instinctively, a bit wildly, a bit adventurously and risky, where people dare to dream and dare to follow their dreams till the very end.