Published on: 9 August 2023
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Exhibition “Chuyen Minh” – the first solo exhibition of artist Doan Duc Hung

On August 26th, artist Doan Duc Hung will hold his first solo exhibition at Le Lycee Artspace Ana Mandara Villas Dalat Resort & Spa. His name is quite familiar to art lovers, as he has participated in numerous group exhibitions. However, it is only now that he has decided to host a solo exhibition, demonstrating his dedication to his craft, his audience, and his personal artistic journey.

His exhibition, titled “Chuyện mình,” will showcase nearly 80 previously unseen oil paintings. These carefully selected pieces, created over the past five years, offer a captivating narrative of the artist’s life.

This is the tale of Doan Duc Hung’s inaugural solo exhibition, which serves as a visual autobiography. Indeed, Doan Duc Hung is graciously revealing his personal narrative—depicting his family, wife, children, home, and the familiar countenances of relatives, friends, and neighbors. Naturally, his artistic voyage encompasses his professional life, his profound love for painting, his art studio, the models he portrays, and his introspective self-portraits that encapsulate both moments of elation and melancholy.

Nonetheless, being his own storyteller grants him the freedom to eschew ostentation. Doan Duc Hung opts to work on medium and small-sized canvases, cherishing the intimacy and subtlety they afford. These smaller creations encapsulate instances of connection, emotions, trust, and self-expression shared amongst family and friends.

When considering it thoughtfully, the selection of materials and canvas sizes resembles choosing a companion. For instance, Nguyen Gia Tri had a preference for lacquer, Nguyen Tu Nghiem utilized colored powder on paper, Nguyen Phan Chanh worked with silk, and Bui Xuan Phai chose small oil canvases. In the realm of art, there are no distinctions between big or small themes, large or small dimensions, or oil paint versus lacquer. These are merely tools. The true essence lies in how these tools aid artists in expressing themselves, discovering their true selves, and narrating their own stories. Additionally, it is crucial to highlight that art’s significance surpasses size; it originates from personal narratives and intimate experiences that can resonate with everyone. Even if it is an individual’s story, if it encompasses the story of humanity and universal human experiences, it becomes art. What is private can be shared with others, and what is shared can also be personal.


It’s all interconnected. If one can delve into their own heart, they can also touch the hearts of others. Let’s return to “Chuyen minh” and witness Doan Duc Hung as he narrates his stories. The  envision is that prior to commencing his painting, Hung would position himself in front of his subjects, observing, engaging in heartfelt conversations, or contemplating them for a while, patiently waiting for his emotions to overflow. Once the creative spark is ignited, he would paint swiftly and passionately, without pause. When examining some of his paintings, audiences might sense the brush flowing effortlessly, as if he feared it wouldn’t keep pace with his emotions. Painting, for him, is akin to meditation, with only two paths to follow: either attaining sudden enlightenment or silent illumination. Doan Duc Hung belongs to the “enlightenment” school of art, the “enlightenment in painting.” He does not paint in a contemplative manner, meticulously refining and perfecting each stroke.

His brushstrokes, saturated with paint, follow the flow of emotions rather than being confined by rigid forms. They embody a sense of freedom, liberated from the literal representation of the subject. The concept of a “correct form” loses its meaning. In essence, Doan Duc Hung’s notion of “correct form” is a different kind of correctness – an affinity-based correctness. Affinity cannot be coerced or learned. I resonate with Nietzsche’s perspective: “Art is the transformation of the fixed certainties of the world of phenomena into the beautiful possibilities of not yet realized truth.” Hung’s “correct form” already exists, allowing the colors, interplay of light, and shadows in his paintings to transcend the boundaries of reality. They become manifestations of emotions, expressions of colors. In his heart, he perceives the harmony of colors, the interplay of light and darkness.

Artist Doan Duc Hung

The emotions flow directly from the heart and onto the canvas, serving as the driving force behind his brush. It’s not simply the physical power of the hand; it’s the power of passion. Hung’s artwork is a manifestation of emotion-driven artistry. When he paints, there is no hesitation or contemplation. Logic only exists prior to the act of painting. Once he grasps the brush, reason takes a backseat, allowing pure emotion to guide his strokes. One could perceive that capturing emotions requires an “unintentional” approach. Doan Duc Hung’s artistic instinct is refined enough to strike a balance between emotions and logic. Hence, in some of his paintings, the focal points often emerge accidentally, serendipitously, unintentionally, or even “unconsciously.” Painting becomes a matter of the heart, the soul, and pure sensation. When an artist witnesses injustice or wrongdoing in “the world of others,” it profoundly stirs their heart. This holds true not only for painting but for all other art forms as well. Singing must emanate from the depths of one’s heart, while poetry and literature must flow with profound meaning from the innermost core.

In essence, Doan Duc Hung’s art beautifully combines emotions and comprehension, serving as a heartfelt expression of his inner world. It resonates with audiences, deeply touching them. As this marks Hung’s debut exhibition, perhaps it is time for him to heed the advice found within his own paintings. They may guide him to refine and strip away anything extraneous, focusing solely on his essence. Hung will persist on his chosen path, as the momentum and foundation have already been firmly established. As Laozi taught in the Dao De Jing: Water is the gentlest of substances, yet it can penetrate mountains and earth. This clearly illustrates the principle of softness triumphing over hardness. Hung’s artistic virtue possesses this adaptability as well. He simply follows his heart, painting with the flow of his emotions.

Quote from words of Curator: Le Thiet Cuong