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Artist Phap Hanh

   Painting's Meanings

Each art work in itself will be an unlimited source of sense for the painting art. It will reflex point of view of inner feelings to world outlook and infiltrate inner feelings wisely, it will be a prelude of colored melody making unlimited course of life.

Artist Phap Hanh (Kassapa)

   Thơ thiền



The art of painting is endless. It is the experimental path for the universal truths through colors in order to set free and return color to its true nature.

I paint on canvas to record my feelings regarding the world, regarding time and space and of the existing and ever changing natural movements of the universe. That is the beauty, a delightful breakthrough to the principles of eternal existence captured by both mind and heart. Observing these paintings, each viewer will return to himself/herself.

Like an encounter by the autumn breeze with the early morning sunshine, I came in touch with painting by chance.  On that fateful time and date, there was a stir within my consciousness, a push in a different direction and I was able to capture the rhythmic breath of True Colors.

From then on the art creations appear simultaneously one after another without endeavor, without purpose, and without intents for representations of anyone or anything. For it and by itself is the phenomenal natural movement of colors. Color is the flow of emotions and creativity and creativity and emotions likewise is the real source of life. At that moment the colors will spark a current of endless imagination and creation.  At that unexpected sudden moment, the mind and the heart enlightens quietly.

Author Phap Hanh

   Selfless Abstract Expressionism

The painting art of artist Phap Hanh has a similarity to the art movement of Abstract Expressionism, an art movement appears at the beginning of the 20th century, grow rapidly in America after World Word II and still develop by many artists around the world.

However, the painting art of artist Phap Hanh illustrates the factor of Selflessness or no self but not a subconscious mind, as the artist emphasizes by himself:

"The paintings gradually come from its natural movement; there is no desire, no determination, no entity standing behind to control."

Hence, we simply use the term Selfless Abstract Expressionism to adress the painting art of artist Phap Hanh for convenient presentation to viewers as well as examination of this new art form thoroughly.

Selfless Abstract Expressionism can briefly be outlined as follows:

- Free in creation, not under any influences,

- Natural in creation, all activities flows naturally,

- Selfless in creation, a respect of natural laws without imposing personal opinions.

Writer Nguyễn Thiện

   A brief interview of artist Phap Hanh (Kassapa)


(from the Weekend Labor News no.20, 25-27 May 2012)

I asked the artist the reason of joining the arts of painting, he smiled and replied immediately:

- The movement of my consciousness has urged me to use colors for illustration. It is as the movement of heaven and earth, as the movement of nature. I create through a subconscious state formed by many conscious states. It seems that is the essence of the art of paintings.

The essence of the art of paintings for me is a way to self, not to selflessness of Buddhism. Is there a conflict in your art of paintings regarding these two motives?

- There is no conflict. The self is one per million of the selflessness. I think the highest point of the art of paintings is selflessness. All artists step on a way to return to their self to clearly expose their personalities, but, when one returns to selflessness, there is no need for exposition, no need for attraction or unattraction, hence, a reach of selflessness.

So, for you, the art of paintings is only a way, a “dharma” to walk toward selflessness?

- I don’t consider what a way is, what a motive is. I paint like I breathe, as the non-stop movement to explore the essence of consciousness, to remove the remaining dirt. That is also a way of meditation.

To be enlightened?

- Nope, to be free.

Then, what is the meaning of “being free”?

- To relieve, but not to relieve the past and not to relieve the presence. To relieve desire, anger and ignorance to open arms toward the future, to relize the presence completely without limits by any theory.

   Tác phẩm tiêu biểu (an oil painting of artist Phap Hanh)


   Abstract Expressionist


Abstract scene, c. 1955
Jay Meuser (1911 - 1963)

No 5, 1948
Jackson Polllock (1912-1956)

Woman V, 1952-53
Willem de Kooning (1904–1997)

No. 61 (Rust and Blue), 1953
Mark Rothko (1903-1970)

   Suy Ngẫm



"Within a short period, venerable Phap Hanh created a series of abstract arts, mind abstracts. Observing these paintings, we realize that the artist does not aim to attract viewers by strange or shock figures. But the strange and shock figures always appear in front of our eyes through these paintings.”
(Speech of artist Pham Do Dong, Vice Chairman of the HCM City Fine Arts Association at the opening ceremony of the exhibition of oil paintings of artist Phap Hanh on Oct 12, 2005 at HCMC Fine Arts Association)
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