< Thu Van Tran
Thu Van Tran
May 13, 2017 - Nov 26, 2017
57th Biennale di Venezia, Venice (Italy)
The work of Thu Van Tran, who grew up between two cultures, is inspired by literature, history, architecture and nature. She presents four works that raise questions about rubber from the point of view of history and the senses. The rubber tree symbolizes the abuse of power and domination of the colonial conquests in many countries.

The film Des Gestes Démesurément Contraints. De Récolte à Révolte gathers images on the old Michelin plantations in Vietnam, where some people are shown at work. Later, hands appear shaping other hands, frozen in gesture and sculpture, a liberation which results in the appearance of a language. To be indignant, gather, abandon, build, destroy, betray, milk, flee... are all gestures and acts that can be transcribed.

A site-specific painting spreads colorful stain over two adjacent walls consists of an indelible mixture of rubber and chemical pigment which, like a second skin, coats and penetrates the white and immaculate body of the wall. On the surface, hang three photograms with the imprints of different tropical plants, including the Hevea tree, reproduced also on the floor in wax casts arranged symmetrically in wooden boxes. The artist’s works, offering art as a means of transformation of our determinism due to the history, reveal the shortcomings and irrationality of human nature.

Excerpt from the text written by Claudia Buizza

Statement of the artist

Originally, there was no immaculate space. The phenomena of contamination oppose this phantasm of purity and so true are they that they achieve a form of perfection, reflecting what we are: mutant identities, woven of particles that have crossed the deserts of the Sahara, ardent and atomic clouds, murderous dioxins and the paths of exile. We, identities determined by our moving geography, forced to learn a foreign language, live and negotiate with our stains.

Contaminate, being contaminated, are also principles that we find in the vegetable world; they trace a history of the displacements of our modern world. I invest a work of contact, from the most concrete sculptural imprint to the most symbolic or embodied linguistic translations. It is always a question of grasping, of fixing the memory of contiguous forces and of translating their reciprocal intensities.

In this context, the project for Venice combines light as a source of energy and capture (photogram), the imprint as a process and activation of a memory (casting), the stain as an overflowing and autonomous landscape countering the idea of purity (flat white) and, finally, a film that petrifies the gestures executed under domination and delivered somewhere in the field of sculpture (from harvest to revolt). The whole feeding on a total relation to nature.

Thu Van Tran, The perfection of a stain, 2017.