Mid Autumn Night
Artist Chinh Le
At Art Vietnam Gallery 24 Ly Quoc Su Hanoi Vietnam
From 15 Sep to 10 Oct, 2016
Opening: 6pm, Thursday, 15 Sep 2016
The Mid Autumn Festival, which occurs on the 15th of the eighth lunar month, is one of the most celebrated days of the lunar calendar. In Vietnam it is considered the second most important date after the TET New Year and is celebrated with lantern and mask making, dragon dances, and drinking tea while gazing at the full autumn moon enjoying friends and family.
Offerings of moon cakes, flowers and seasonal fruit are placed on the altar to honor the harvest and pay homage to the bounty of nature.
Artist Chinh Le, a devout Zen Buddhist, poet and sculptor, pays tribute to the spirituality of this special night when people come together to celebrate the moment when people, sky and earth combine in harmony. The artist says, “Under the glorious and fragile moonlight, together we drink tea, enjoy the moon cake feast while gazing at the moon. This is a beautiful image to show our gratitude to the sky and earth and it is also a prayer for one’s happiness and prosperity to come.”
The artist is known for her philosophical works of art that ponder the meaning of existence and the quest for ultimate freedom. The current exhibition Mid Autumn Night is a banquet of ideas and feelings expressed in two very different mediums, bronze sculpture and works of autumnal nights in oil on canvas.
The exhibition pivots around a body of bronze sculptures. Poised at the center under a large bronze autumn moon is a Zen Buddhist monk with an expressionless face holding a mask in his hand. Surrounding the monk are the 12 animals of the zodiac and then placed in front of the monk is a series of 12 masks representing these animals. Each mask is half human, half animal. Each has its own character and in the mouth is placed each ones’ distinguishing characteristic or favorite food. The Master is constantly changing masks. It is the Zen philosophy that everything is one, one is everything. The masks perhaps look different but basically they are the same, they are one. All characters/masks are different and also all are the same, all empty like the face of the Master. Distinction only brings misery.
30 paintings in oil surround the bronze installation reflecting the moonlight in the colors of the four seasons; spring, summer, autumn, and winter correspondingly in green, red, yellow and white. Vague figures emerge in the paintings depicting daily life now and in the very first primal stages of being. They are mysterious in their light and dark, ephemeral figures merging together like the light changing from day to night.
The artist muses, “Life is just like the universe, there are some parts we can see, touch, understand and there are also some different parts that we cannot reach and they remain a mystery in our life forever. And despite that mystery, life is always balanced in both spiritual and physical ways. That balance is what makes life beautiful.”
Once again, Chinh Le brings us to a meditative space, encouraging us to reflect on the beauty of this life with all its’ mystery and wonder, all the while expressing our gratitude for the very essence of being.
Please come to celebrate our mid autumn festival, Tet Trung Thu, and feel the magnificence of human existence.
Art Vietnam Gallery