Rung's Harmonious Struggle with Life

by Le Khac Cam

Source: Vietnam Investment Review, December 27, 1993 – January 2, 1994 – page 24

Rarely do we encounter an artist who bears so many burdens, so many conflict as Rung.

ln the Sixties, Rung's early paintings quickly attracted the public with their new level of expression, their alien ambience and their controversial colors and compositions.

Today, through his work he attempts to transport viewers to a different world. His raw, hot and naïve colors, his aggressive style, his zealous endeavor in search of the deepest layers of human structure were quite strange to art lovers of that time.

Rung's works challenge classically minded viewers. His art is not within the eastern tradition of portraying tranquillity, but opposed to it, in favor of psychological turbulence. Some might admire the boldness of his creation, others might reject it. Rung's female figures are often barbaric, primitive, lustful and sometime rude, far from the tender, sensuous beauties of traditional silk paintings.

Despite criticism: Rung doggedly persisted, descending deeper into the abyss of the sub-consciousness.

The Seventies marked an important turn in Rung's career. The advance in techniques and style gave his work an atmosphere reminiscent of Picasso's and Chagall's work. He strived to combine primitive arts with a modern sensibility.

The vestiges of his earlier desires, fears and despairs still twinkled somewhere. The whole impression was no longer problematic but a more mature and controlled expression.

“My art harmonizes and at the same time quarrels with life," he said.

Rung's exhibition this Christmas in Hanoi illustrates this struggle. The exhibition is an act of escape to something fantastically immense but permanently real, where under the effects of interlaced lights and darkness, wander beams of colors. They suggest a blurred memory of image of forgotten objects.

The viewers may feel calmer when they encounter not the images of broken, screaming bodies. the terrifying and lyric nightmares often seen in his previous paintings. Now they see a wordless meditation in a space that is tranquil and boundless. And they immediately recognize the depth of the artist's disillusion who has just been awakened after so many years of being torn, twisted and lost in the frightening labyrinth of his creativeness.

Rung's paintings now are part of a single world – that of being there and of oneness. No more a question or challenges, only a tender offering, a soft murmur inviting his viewers to eternity.