I know and hang out with painter Dinh Phong, looking back on it, perhaps for almost twenty years. And in addition, strangely, he also hid his identity as an artist for so many years. Of course, I and many friends didn’t know that he draws; he is still indulged in this world every day with his dreams of creating many dimensions by collecting, reading and sketching. The closed journey drawings show big stretches until they gradually ripen until the stage of “cocooning” which soars like surreal dreams. That’s the reason why Dinh Phong’s paintings show the colorful colors and pictures such as unpacking, opening up the overlapping margins of conflicts, expanding the borders of borders. Picture after picture with different bright colors and flying degrees gives viewers a sense of guilt, both strange and familiar …
Until Phong decided to step out into the light of the painting to come out to play, he showed me on the desk of his room all the training vocabulary, the catalogs of many world painters such as Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Edouard Manet to Andy Warhol, Henri Matisse, Salvador Dali … It turned out that he had quietly spent nearly decades just reading and studying painting. And he has traveled to many countries around the world, visiting many museums and libraries just to look at pictures, to meditate, to search for materials on painting. In particular, Dinh Phong focused on deeply going into the world of posing two artists with extremely complex lives, but such that the work was pushed to the raging shores of sublimation, Willem de Kooning and Gauguin. The color of communion is equal to death. In Vietnam, he met and collected paintings by artists like Nguyen Tu Nghiem, Tran Luu Hau, Tran Hai Minh …
It’s hard to imagine that during the last 6 months, like a colorful hurricane breaking out, the artist separated from his friends and the rhythm of everyday life to immerse himself in the world of painting. Even so, in order not to drop or lose the rhythm of thought, the color is constantly moving; sometimes he eats while drawing on the spot. Or, because his wife was anxious to take care of her husband’s health, she had to come down to the workshop to feed him each spoonful of rice. The pictures are born in such a mystical rhythm! And apparently God has challenged each artist differently. That makes the work amazing and unexpectedly beautiful.
Each work is like a broken piece from the artist’s surreal dreams. And when put together, they create a world of colored blocks moving freely and gently in the dreams of a ‘flying man’.
“Sometimes I feel from my heart, creative joy like a flash of electricity, shining in my mind. I locked myself in my room, brushing up to draw all the ideas that came up in my mind. Isn’t this just creativity? It is also a passion, a strong passion that motivates me to want to realize, wants to let everyone see, share and feel my surreal dreams”- he shared with me in a meeting.
Dinh Phong is passionate about drawing and composing with many different materials, such as acrylic color on canvas, bronze statues, and glazed ceramic. This is the first time the artist is holding a brush and flying, but with his in-depth knowledge of artistic principles and his available metaphysical rational mind, his works have almost no signs of ‘amateur’.
Dinh Phong’s sculpture looked simple at first, but had time to contemplate and contemplate; which was too strange and unique. Those are blocks, overlapping hidden words. For example, the “Enlightenment” sculpture is like a new, not old religious banner. It is a stretch, evoking the image of respectfully clasping hands in the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara with a thousand hands and eyes. It is the sacred leaf of the Bodhisattva tree crowning Buddha for cultivation practice, the idea of the universe and the attainment of enlightenment. It is an image of the sacred fire of wisdom and consciousness.
In a new “Empty” sculpture, he focuses on looking for the emptiness inside. Life is really just empty, empty. We set our own frameworks, prejudices, self-fulfilling by only filling it with concepts.
Thoughts by re-using an assessment by art critic Nguyen Quan:
“Two-dimensional layout, three-dimensional space, connecting lines, changes of volume and rhythm, creating a very mature, well-thought-out shape. The free, unfinished comfort is more evident in the ceramic and bronze 3D sculptures but still preserves the overall form consistency ”.
In many works, I have noticed that Dinh Phong focuses on the factor of expanding linkage. He built a fluttering, evocative model that captivated the imagination of creativity. Detecting interactive dual tissues, potential deconstructive gravity of peripheral regions and does not emphasize centrality. Apparently, the center has been exhausted if not dying of aging formalism and subjectivity of fiction. Peripheral calls for radiance by its youthful, unknown structure. Or the mazes that have not died on their own by fame and revelation. The works of artist Dinh Phong in many forms are highly interactive, woven, twisted. For example, pictures of wild dreams, multi-faceted, multi-dimensional statues can be turned upside down, reversing multi-forms of personality. The audience can enjoy the option of immediately choosing by themselves, an attitude at that time while enjoying art, not going into a creative tunnel as far as possible. Or monotonous one-way spirits which have seen poverty before.
After the great success of the exhibition “The Flying Man and Surreal Dreams” showcasing the northern art lover, artist and painter in Hanoi (11.2020), in mid-April, the artist Dinh Phong will hold an exhibition of “Surreal Dreams” at Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts.
Hopefully, he will make a new and spectacular breakthrough again with Southern painting and art lovers
(Sài Gòn, 14.3.2021).
NGUYỄN HỮU HỒNG MINH