Boi Tran, « Élégantes de Hué », 2015, or the inevitable choice of distinction against fate

31 May 2024 Off By Jean-François Hubert

By 1975, the entire Hué region had regained its silence, the wounds were still wide open. As the pivotal point between North and South, Hué was constantly bombed and fought over during the civil war.

Martyrdom and apocalypse.

What can you do when you’ve got nothing left? Not even a photo of your childhood. When, since childhood, you’ve been exposed to the bitter, insistent death that has already taken your loved ones away from you?

Never be subjected to it. Never. Never complain.

In Vietnam, everyone fought in the war. Not everyone won.

Later, after the hardships, slowly listen to the birdsong again, to drink green tea, to gently endure the rain and take care of your family. Paying homage to her son, who died far too soon, and smiling.

Always smiling. As a proud 18th-generation descendant of Ha Tinh generalissimo Phan Quang Minh (1350-1454) and one of his 6 sons, Phan Huu Gia, who settled just south of what was not yet Hué, in 1438.

Painting, like a mantra. Always the same people, the same gestures, the same garden. A creed without liturgy.

Our majestic lacquer depicts 7 (not 8…) young women in ao dai.

Boi Tran – Élégantes de Hué

Charming by virtue of their skilfully maintained distance, rather than their voluptuousness, as in Nguyen Trung, Boi Tran’s master. More introverted, almost austere, blending into the vegetation.

In the distance, on the left, a nha san, a minority house that the artist is saving from destruction. Farther right, a nha ruong, a traditional Kinh house, made entirely of wood like the previous one. And the garden gate.

In Hué.

A closed world in the hills.

Distinction, the absolute weapon against fate.

Like sharing a piece of eternity.

Jean-François Hubert