Lê Phi Long

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Hunting as a metaphor for politics no.2 #8

2020 - 2021

Ink, gold leaf, watercolor on paper

29.7 x 42 cm

This artwork belongs to “Đông Dương Lãng Du” project of Le Phi Long since 2016. The painting series collected documents in Da Lat and Tay Nguyen, then the research was expanded to France. This series focused on discussing the last half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century and the political plans through the metaphor of hunting activities. Long mentioned about former King Bao Dai, the head of the Hoang-Trieu Cuong-Tho  in 1949-1955, the last Emperor of  Nguyen Dynasty, Vietnam. He was trained  “the King job” by France, also was a chivalrous person who loved sports and was very good at hunting.  In World War II, France struggled with the plan to recover the Empire of Indochine at a whole in  the last half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. “John Mackenzie suggested that hunting big animals in colonial areas is the way to show off power, show off value expression, manhood, classify and Quintessence.” He supposed the hunting contained heroism, fantastic beauty  and adventures. However, it is cruel sometimes. In 1928, the National Committee of protecting Wild Animals of Colony and Natural History Museum approved the Hunting Law to strictly protect the wild animals in Tay Nguyen, Vietnam.

Same as unpacking, connecting and eventizeing the situations; Long re-drew the old postcards, the illustrations from hunting catalogues, documental photos from collections. The animal skulls, bone pieces, templates at sub-institute of biological Tay Nguyen-Da Lat became interesting and reminded him of the title “Hunting as a metaphor of Political Power” in the research of Eric Jenning. Bones in Chinese-Vietnamese is Cốt, in Cốt lõi (core), is the core value to maintain the form of the pictures clearly. The work with inking pens, paper, overlaid with gold leaf , water colors were administered detaily and meticulously in surgeons – as a reconsideration.  On the platform, he used the excerpt from planning map, structure drawing of colonial architectures, Artdeco in France. Long would like to restructure and has an ambition to eventize to make  (site-spesific painting) contain multi space and information deeply.

A hundred years, brand new and fantasy. Hunting story, the political agenda changed the special identity of highland Da Lat which was originally a “land of leisure”, eventually became a political millitarial area, a center of academy and religion with too many ambitions in the 1950s. In discussion of those issues, If hunting is a metaphor of colonial invasion or the repeating of a dominating, then that is an insult or doubt of this game also debilitates that dominance. “That is the meaning of the notable artical of Nguyen Phan Long in his newspaper in 1932, L’Echo Annamite.

Long wishes to create specific and direct clues on the surface of the painting, through it, he and the audience search for the concerns and ongoing discussions about this topic.

(Text courtesy of the artist)