Ly Trần: An Infinite and Fervent Impact with Art

Ly Trần: An Infinite and Fervent Impact with Art

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An interview by Đàm Vũ for Hanoi Grapevine & Art Republik Vietnam
The full-length article to be published on Art Republik

Art is not only an impact of emotions but also the touchpoint that turns the page of the artist’s life. For Ly Trần, holding the brush is no longer a habit but a “driving force for expression”. Dare to live facing her own emotions, dare to act, and dare to pay for what she loves, and the rhythm in her paintings thus are even more liberating. Her works embrace the powerful emotions and the anatta of a strong woman on her way to balance.

Taking place from 17-21 June 2023 at the Exhibition Hall No. 29 Hang Bai, Hanoi, Ly Trần’s exhibition “Đa Sắc” (Iridescence) presents over 70 paintings on cultural diversity through a wide array of materials: oil, lacquer and mixed media. The artist was born in 1982 in Vietnam and pursued her studies in industrial design in Moscow, lived in the US and recently returned to Vietnam to devote herself to creative practices.

That volume of work is quite an abundant baggage for a solo exhibition. The palettes and lighting in her works are bold and lively with a certain mystery, despite the familiar theme. After series of exhibitions in the US, her debut in her homeland is an experience that both conveys and evokes emotions. Never cease to explore multiple materials, through artistic emotions, Ly Trần sets fire to her soul and warms the audience with sweet blends of colors, whether those are warm or cool toned.

Cactus’s flowers | Oil painting

What brought you to art? What did you paint in your very first work?

I grew up with my cousins who always brought along pencils with them. They all became architects later, and I started painting with them from a very young age. I drew a lotus, the symbol of anatta in my very first painting.

Your paintings about love are not only about the composition but also the warm and gentle vitality that seems could soften the toughest of hearts. There’s hatred in love, what’s in your paintings? Have you found the desired level of expression?

Thank you for your feeling when seeing my paintings about love.
My works reflect my outlook. People often say that love is hatred. There has never been hatred in my love. To me, love can be joyous, can be sorrowful, and can bring hope and disappointment, but never hatred. I always treasure and am grateful for those who have been with me, whether for a short or a long journey.
Therefore, the love in my paintings is “the love for the beauty of love”. I don’t prepare for myself the idea of a specific trajectory. Maybe the path comes to be as we walk.

Kiss me | Sơn dầu

Do you think that paintings must reflect the artist’s outlook on life, or could it be a completely new and different world?

I think that nothing is compulsory or standard in the way artists express their outlook in any way. That is the choice of each of them. For me right now, my work helps me express my outlook. But maybe when I’m 60, I would like to paint an ideal world that I dream of.

How does learning and experiencing lacquer techniques change the way you paint?

Artist Thẩm Cầm Phương, daughter of artist Thẩm Đức Tụ (Former Secretary General of the Hanoi Fine Arts Association (under the Hanoi Union of Literature and Arts Association) – who contributed to the completion of the special art teaching methods for visually-impaired children at Nguyễn Đình Chiểu School) taught me to paint with Vietnamese lacquer. It is a difficult medium that requires patience, very challenging yet interesting. Lacquer has many steps which wear me out, I am more like a craft artisan than an artist. I use the black color of the board as part of the painting. Lacquer has not changed me, but it is me who uses all the techniques with mixed media to define my own style with lacquer. This is the path that I pursue in the long run.

Ký ức | Sơn dầu

Check out the artist’s paintings here


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