contemporary art

Truong Tan

Vietnam 1963

Installation, Sculpture, Performance Art, Painting

Truong Tan
Truong Tan
December 18, 2014

Truong Tan is a Vietnamese artist, born in 1963. His artistic narrative is marked by autobiographical experiences, perceptions and feelings, and strong erotic references to his sexuality.

Tan graduated from Hanoi Fine Arts University in 1989, and he served as a lecturer until 1997, when he moved to Paris under a grant from the Cité Internationale des Artes. His departure from the University was largely due to his challenging art that openly expressed his sexuality and questioned the contradictions of the then implemented economic liberalization policy or Doi Moi. In the mid-80s, Vietnam’s communist government had introduced its reform policy, and young artists were relishing their newly-found freedom, experimenting with new styles and forms of expression. Despite this liberalization, Truong Tan’s exhibitions were repeatedly closed by Vietnam’s cultural censors who disapproved of the sexually explicit, homo-erotic nature of the artist’s work. After having lived in Paris for a number of years, he returned to Vietnam in 2005. Painters like Truong Tan, Ha Tri Hieu or Dinh Thi Tham Poong, who have kept their integrity, continue to be successful on the international art stage. They were among the first generation of artists who benefited from Vietnam’s new artistic freedoms and have found their own path, away from the socialist realism, revolutionary heroes, propaganda posters or idyllic scenes of life under communism.

Prominent theme in Tan’s work examines the struggle between one’s public identity and social environment, rejecting the more conservative assumption of art adopted by his peers. His rich visual language includes photos, chains, mirrors and texts in his work. Life in Europe highly influenced his way of thinking, though he has remained involved with themes of individual freedom within an oppressive and traditional society with its ancient prejudices.

Another areas of his interests are installations, performance art, sculpture and ceramics. His piece named The Wedding dress, made by iron chains and bird feathers, is inspired by Vietnamese women, who are oppressed by society, by the men around them. He speaks of it ‘The lower half of the dress is made of the chains, heavy, keeping the women down. The upper half is made of feathers, very light, very delicate and fragile, like the women’s soul, pure and vulnerable. I want to praise the beauty of the women, the beauty they gain when they are freed from hardship and prejudice.’

Truong’s art is a part of the permanent collections of major art museums that include the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan, the Queensland Art Gallery, Australia and the Singapore Art Museum. He has been a participant of numerous biennials in Asia and Europe.

Truong Tan lives and works in Paris and Hanoi.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group 
2013From Craft to Art: Vietnamese Lacquer PaintingsThavibu Gallery, BangkokGroup
2013No Country: Contemporary Art For South And Southeast AsiaSolomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City, NYGroup
20111,2,3,4,5,6,7,8Bui Gallery, HanoiGroup
20111,2,3,4,5,6,7,8Bui Gallery, ParisGroup
2011What We Talk About When We Talk About LoveBui Gallery, ParisGroup
2011What We Talk About When We Talk About LoveBui Gallery, HanoiGroup
2011Art Meets FashionFAAM - Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, FukuokaGroup
2010Truong Tan - How to be an Angel Thavibu Gallery, BangkokSolo
2009Connect Ifa-Galerie Berlin, Berlin Group
20094th Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale 2009 - LIVE and LET LIVE: Creators of TomorrowFukuoka Asian Art Triennale, FukuokaGroup
2009Lim Dim - Young Vietnamese ArtistsStenersenmuseet, OsloGroup
2009A snapshot of contemporary vietnamese artifa gallery, downtown ShanghaiGroup
2009Connect: Art Scene Vietnam Berlin and Stuttgart, GermanyGroup
2009Hanoi - Where we are nowArt Vietnam Gallery, Hanoi,Vietnam Group
2008Singapore BiennaleSingapore Biennale, SingaporeGroup
2008Global Exhibition EurAsiaCologne, GermanyGroup
2007Diaper installation, ‘Come in’ exhibitionViet Art Center, Hanoi, VietnamGroup
2005Dancers, installationRYLLEGA gallery, Hanoi,Vietnam Solo
2004Spiders, installationRYLLEGA gallery, Hanoi, Vietnam 2002 Vay Cuoi, Nha San Duc, Hanoi, VietnamSolo
2000Espace chateauneuf ToursFrance Solo
1997Die Anderen Modernen : Zeitgenössische Kunst aus Afrika, Asien und LateinamerikaHaus der Kulturen der Welt, BerlinGroup
1996Vietnamesische KünstlerKunstverein Germersheim, GermersheimGroup