17 – 20 March 2016
Presented by Galerie Nguyen
at ION Art Gallery, Level 4, ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn, Singapore
“I paint with industry and cleverness as a mason’s laborer but also with the pleasure and indulgence of a little boy who dips his hands into the sand on the beach to build his own palace. I, too, have an extreme deep longing for dipping my hands in the material I use to paint: trowel and brush are not enough for me.”
Nguyen Trung, born in Soc Trang, Vietnam in 1940, is viewed by many as one of the most influential and respected artists living and working in Vietnam today. He specializes in oil painting, and is recognised for his ability to create well-organized texture, paired with the balance and steadiness of his ideas. The strong, decisive individuality of his works and his high sense of purpose are the determining factors that make up Trung’s art.
Over the course of his artistic career, Trung has initiated a new current in Vietnamese art. He was a co-organizer of the Saigon Association of Young Painters in the 1970s, when he established himself as one of the outstanding representatives of painting in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), a role he has continued to play up to the present.
His original focus was on abstract art, based on a sense of strict European rationalism, yet placed within an Oriental philosophical space. This mix creates a mysterious sense of direction and disorientation, whereby in front of one of his large paintings the viewer is unsure where to begin or how to read the fabulous cascade of signs, codes and arrows. His pursuit of poetic content has produced impressive compositions. The traditional oppositions of figure and ground, contour and shape, line and plane are dramatically suspended, giving viewers a sense of something that can be read as a natural atmosphere, the chaos that existed before the beginning of representation.
In these works, Trung expands the pictorial space into a more mysterious, cosmic dimension, while simultaneously telling us something about what is happening now, in reality. Many have connected his paintings with the work of Joan Miró and, even more, Cy Twombly, though Trung’s art is very much a personal style: that of the symbolic world of infinity mingled with the desires of a home-loving artist.
Gradually, his early abstract-style painting started to take on more elements of realism. Indeed, his new collection, which can be viewed from 17-19 March at ION Art Gallery, consists of realistic paintings of natural elements and still life works. Yet the compositions and rendering remain evocatively dreamlike and symbolic.
Trung is one of the few living Vietnamese artists whose works are regularly sold at international auctions. He shows at international art fairs, such as Art Stage Singapore (2015, 2014) and Start Art Fair in London (2014). His works are also included in several prestigious collections worldwide, including the Vietnamese Fine Art Museum, the Singapore Art Museum and the Bassano del Grappa Fine Art Museum in Italy.
The exhibition is presented by Viet Art & Galerie Nguyen, which is located in 139 Dong Khoi Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (Website: www.galerienguyen.com) and whose objective is to promote high quality original Vietnamese art and artists.