sâmbătă, 2 februarie 2008


My friend Madison Morrison, a paradigm of contemporary post-culture, has the requisite intuition and social skills for putting in touch with one another intellectuals and artists the world over who belong to the same creative family. When he recommended that I have a look at the work of his friends, Fire and Jorge Cruxent, a unique couple in the realm of contemporary painting, he was sure that our various plastic adventures, along with those of others, would turn out to have many common roots. . .

One of my regrets is that I write for the first time about Fire in her absence. We both recognized from the beginning the things that joined us in our visual philosophy, beyond our merely personal approaches. She told me in a letter that her friend, the artist-poet Nico Vassilakis, and I were ''at first look very different from us [the Cruxents], yet we all use for the most part clean lines and bright colors." I responded by observing that we all prefer as well the juxtaposition of pure colors, instead of mixing them, and are fascinated by the reductive forms, non-temporal in nature, which lie behind the figurative world. I loved the art of the Cruxents too and was very surprised to notice that Jorge's style of drawing belongs to the same family as that of an Argentinian artist, Xul Solar, whom I very much appreciate, a contemporary of Paul Klee, with a similar vision, but unfortunately not so well known. He was a good friend of some of my favorite writers, J. L. Borges and Ernesto Sabato.

Fire's words about the special collaboration with her husband Jorge (similar to the method whereby renku, a form of Japanese poetry, are created) glitter now in my soul like musical notes in a Bach concerto:

''Jorge and I work together . . . he, the designer, and I, the colorist, in the painted pieces. He does free form and pen and ink drawing that I don't paint, and I construct photomontages alone in my corner. . . . Our work is figurative, creating a narrative that is abstract. . . . It is my technique to take a drawing whose areas are defined by line and to paint each area without texture or shading. Jorge Cruxent constructs the drawings such that there are no simple lines. For instance, no twig or brow can be defined by a single line running out into space, else the color beneath and below surround and devour it. The demands for my colorations are that anything to be represented in the composition must be defined as a closed area. The drawings themselves are linear but, when painted, the lines are subsumed by the areas. Their singular dimension shifts into the planes’ duality. If the original linear forms that I transform into their future planes are to remain visible, they cannot share exactly the color of any bordering area.''

As in Bach the musical network of lines by Jorge and the ensemble of Fire's striking colors join in a moving vibrato to touch and enrich the amplitude of our inner lives.

Constantin Severin

miercuri, 9 ianuarie 2008

The art of Tran Long, a fresh dimension of a revitalized Vietnam

Tran Long is principally a sculptor and professor at Ho Chi Minh Fine Arts University. Having for nineteen years lived in Russia, where he received a Ph.D. in art theory and history, seven years ago he returned to Vietnam, where he now lives with his wife (a concert pianist) and their two sons. As his caption illustrates Professor Long is also a poet and as the image above it demonstrates, a brilliant painter, part of a Vietnamese school but a decade old that eschews traditional Chinese, Indian and Vietnamese influence in favor of what might be called a "post-cultural" art. As such it is a fresh dimension of a revitalized Vietnam.

Long's colors are expressive but not expressionistic. His subject is Vietnamese but not programmatically so, as in that Communist art which had embodied political propaganda, or in the popular art of enervated cliches, or in the second-hand work of Vietnam's Francophile stage, or in the charming but retrograde extensions of its native traditions in embroidery, intaglio, laquer painting, woodwork and other more frankly decorative modes, many of which retain their traditional interest.

Instead, Long and his colleagues in this recent body of work, from an artistically independent Vietnam, have discovered a new expressiveness in the sometimes irrational use of primary colors (such as red, or here green, skies; blue, or here red, houses; a yellow earth or here an indigo sea). It is less an expressionism than a personal symbolism, a revolt against the weary expectations of a tradition grown dreary in recent decades from lack of inspiration.

Though professor Long has titled his canvas "Childhood Memories," there is nothing retrospective about its aesthetic. On the contrary, Vietnam is here represented as poised in an exciting present as it looks ahead to a bright artistic future. In this Tran Long is one of its leading lights.


Ký ức. Sơn dầu. 80x80cm (2007)

Hàng ngày tôi phải đi qua nhiều con đường với bao cảnh hối hả, tất bật, chạy ngược chạy xuôi, nhiều âm thanh hỗn độn làm choán hết tâm trí. Không dám nhìn lên trời cũng không dám nhìn xuống đất vì sợ lao vào những chiếc xe đang chạy, sợ đụng phải người đi bên cạnh, sợ vấp phải cái gì đó! Thèm một không gian yên tĩnh để đầu óc thảnh thơi, nhưng không được !
Chợt nhớ về thời còn nhỏ, trên con đường làng nhấp nhô dẫn đến trường học,
bầu trời xanh bao la,
xa xăm,
lặng gió,
một đám mây bằng bàn tay đứng yên,
ngôi nhà màu đỏ,
ụ rơm vàng,
mênh mông,
vắng lặng,
cô đơn,
dang tay nắm lấy khí trời!
một ký ức…
đã qua,
bây giờ không thấy nữa!

Trần Long, tháng 10/2007

For more about MM see http://www.madisonmorrison.com