Rung (Nguyen Tuan Khanh) at Tu Do Gallery

by Long Nghi

Source: Asian Art News Magazine – September/October 1999 - page 111

Distancing himself from the physical world, Rung, in his exhibition "In the Ethereal
World," beckons the viewer into an emotional and intellectual transcendental land. His 13 abstract oil-on-canvas works all share the same title and ideology and serve as a powerful game of imagination, as well as a meditative world in which every viewer can participate.

Rung's work is impressive in its simplicity, and is somewhat reminiscent of Tom Wesselmann's from the 1960s. His composition is quixotic and his colors are lush in their variety, both of which are central to the success of Rung's work. His smooth textured surfaces suggest serenity. Yet, the world he reveals beyond the surface is in fact a world of confusion and contrasts. There is darkness and light, enlightenment and ignorance, joy and introversion, and the poetic charm of the ethereal world.

His works often feature contrasting areas of brilliant light, with powerful reds, yellows, deep shades of brown, black and dark blues.

The bright shapes and flowing lines delineate his nonfigurative designs and are reminiscent of the rhythm of female forms. The structure of his work is organized in striking geometric patterns that create a striking visual harmony. These segmented shapes serve as self-contained, minor perspectives, while overall there is something mysterious being awakened in his unconscious world.

In "In The Ethereal World (VI)," for example, Rung’s fragmentary designs can be seen either as a mask or a witch flying on a broomstick, or more abstract notions of the mystery of dreams or simply emptiness.

Rung is an intuitive artist in the way he chooses colors and arranges his designs. "In the Ethereal World (I)" is a fine example of his intuition.

Indeed, abstraction provides him with the freedom to advocate openness in the viewer and to move away from this world of prejudice. convention, and preconceptions.