Tran Trong Vu
I came with a blue day

January 21¡XFebruary 19, 2005
Plum Blossoms Gallery
555 West 25th Street, Ground Floor
New York, NY 10001 T: 212.719.7008
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 10:30am - 6:30pm Sunday and Monday Closed

Opening reception with the artist: Friday, January 21, 6¡X8 pm

Plum Blossoms (New York) is pleased to announce emigre artist Tran Trong Vu's I came with a blue day, the continuation of his 2004 solo exhibition at Arizona State University Museum, Blue Memory. Tran Trong Vu, who left Vietnam in 1989 on scholarship to the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France, transforms the gallery space with his labyrinthine full-room installation of paintings on clear plastic suspended from the ceiling in eternal, placeless limbo. The centerpiece of the exhibition is a group of ambiguously smiling figures caught halfway between watery, alkaline formlessness and photographic still. Clothed in uniform white shirts and black ties, rendered in monotone colors, comically shuffling in the air where they hang, this army of post-colonial ¡¥everymen¡¦ represents the new Asia of corporate conformity and street-hustle, while the transparency of the plastic material upon which they are painted engages the audience, implicating viewers in a psychological game of blurred vision and misidentification.

Writes the artist:

[I came with a blue day] is a work in which takes part the history of a person, plunged in multiple stories of a homogeneous community. [It] can reflect a political condition in which people are naive and fanatic, unaware of all, or defend their cause, or sacrifice their individuality for a collective hope. Also, this work can refer to a collective entertainment which makes [people] forget reality.

In these contexts the blue plays the active part of a liquid which cleans, breaks, deforms and breaks up the figures. In the blue the reflections are painted in a way very different and more abstract than the human bodies: you can see here the difficult relationship between the truth and interpretation, reality and the memory. All the characters are painted in black and white, to accentuate the documentary side. It is the blue which colours the scene, and [makes] live the vision. Thus it helps us to prolong the memory and to remember.Other works on display use a similar format but add vibrant colors and stylization as well as textual wordplay to further address with acerbic visual wit the ramifications of new industry and corporatization in urban centers running turgid with developing-nation signifiers: cheap electrical goods, commercial signage, political slogans, refuse, human traffic, and fragmented memories from a diasporic, war torn past. Altogether the exhibition is a potent and yet playful statement about trans-national experience registered by physical, intellectual, and interpretational senses.
Born in Hanoi, Vietnam, in 1964, Tran Trong Vu is the son of one of Vietnam¡¦s most respected dissident poets, Tran Dan, who suffered political persecution throughout much of his life because of his outspoken writing. Despite this, Tran Trong Vu was recognized as one of Vietnam¡¦s most promising young artists, graduating first in his class from the Hanoi School of Fine Arts in 1987, and earning a scholarship to study at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France, in 1989, and since then Tran has worked to broaden his artwork to incorporate more international perspectives. Returning briefly to Vietnam in 1997 for his father¡¦s funeral, Tran discovered his father¡¦s unpublished writings and sketches and has since incorporated them in his artwork, channeling their fiery criticality to address not only Vietnamese life but also life as an alien immigrant in France. He has shown recently in solo exhibition at the Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, Arizona (2004) and in group exhibition in l¡¦invitation au voyage at the Orangerie and Luxembourg Gardens, Paris, France (2004). Selected other exhibitions include the Islip Art Museum, East Islip, New York (2003); Gallery Podion, Amsterdam, Netherlands (2002); the Kunstlerhauser, Worpswede, Germany (2000); and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany (1999). Tran Trong Vu is also a participating artist in the Legacy Project, building a global exchange on the enduring consequences of the many historical tragedies of the 20th century.

Copyright 2004 by Plum Blossoms (International) Ltd. All rights reserved.