Tran Minh DucVietnam
Grants Awarded2015 | Multiple Disciplines | United States
for a six-month grant to observe contemporary art activities and meet other artists and arts administrators in the U.S.
The song ‘Where have all the flowers gone?’ by Pete Seeger, heard on repeat as part of the flowers artwork, is listed as one of the top 20 most influencing political songs and an anti-war song from the 60s era. It is inspired by Mikhail Sholokhov’s novel The Quiet Flows the Don, and by three lines of an Ukrainian folk song: ‘where are the flowers, the girls have plucked them. where are the girls, they’ve all taken husbands. where are the men, they’re all in the army.’
Composed of the word ‘flowers’ in rose coloured neon light writing mounted on the simple cardboard box of a popular Vietnamese instant noodle brand, the work exudes a gentle and tender air. the noodle box is nostalgic and humble, an allusion to childhood years in the subsidized period, when the artist’s mother sold coffee and food to earn a living in hard times. Coming out from the box, a small set of headphones play the song like an echo; its sound creating a heady audio essence that emanates from within. Together, in a modest ode, these elements accentuate the interchange between the physical and intangible factors at play in the work, and slowly unfurl the complex notions of beauty and peace.
about the artist:
Tran Minh Duc (b.1982, Vietnam) is a visual artist based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam working with the mediums of performance, photography, collage and installation. through a multidisciplinary approach, Tran seeks to explore collective memory and cultural archives by investigating historical narratives, the effects of colonialism and imperialism, and the lasting impacts of war and migration. He is interested in the interactions between the collective and individual, and the local and the foreign; his work forms a personal interrogation of what it means to be Vietnamese in the intricate fabric of contemporaneity. Tran graduated with a BA in painting from the College of Culture and Arts of Ho Chi Minh City, and has since exhibited widely in Vietnam and internationally. Tran is an alumnus of ACC -- in 2017, he received a fellowship from the Asian Cultural Council to be in residence at Art in General in New York City, USA. His artwork flowers was previously exhibited with MoT+++ in 2015, and is part of the Post Vidai, a Vietnamese Art Collection.
Grantee: Tran Minh Duc
The Performance 'Welcome (Back) to Saigon, We are from Củ Chi' is a multi version performance work by Đức. The work is inspired by a photograph taken at Địa đạo Củ Chi (The Cu Chi Tunnels site) which is posted on Wikipedia information page of this site. The photograph represents 3 ladies getting dressed up in South Vietnamese traditional costume áo bà ba, khăn rằn and green soldier hat showing that they are playing role of Củ Chi guerrillas at the site now became well-known by tourists who come to Saigon. Vietnam and Saigon Ho Chi Minh City specifically in the recent decades of market oriented economy has shown many positive changes but also interferences in social political history, of the past and the presence.
The three young performers in the performance, this time with Performance festival program Transient Creatures taking place in HCMC in June, will state their welcoming message 'Welcome Back to Saigon' to any people who joins the events to start the conversation(s). Even if one is a veteran coming back to Saigon to search for the traces from the past or they are just very young people who make their first trip to Vietnam as well as multi-national cooperations, they are all Welcomed Back to Saigon by three young citizens saying they are from Củ Chi.
Grantee: Tran Minh Duc
ACC alumnus Trần Minh Đức was born 1982, nearly 7 years after the American War (internationally known as Vietnam War) in Ho Chi Minh City (formal name was Saigon pre 1975), Vietnam. Đức grows up with his none understanding of the wartime and only with random stories from his own family relatives, grandparents and parents who directly got involved in such time. Along with his own memories with changes every day every year in the largest city in Vietnam located in the South side of Vietnam, war remnants to him were redesigned war objects to be household facilities within family, neighborhood playgrounds with friends at not yet renovated center of city's streets and tastes of out of expiry date foods and sweets.
Trần later joined and graduated from College of Culture and Arts of HCMC. Practising and experimenting as a visual artist in the city with the slow growth of contemporary art flows, he more and more put more interest to the narration of history by informal resources of information, word of mouth tales and shared personal memories.
During this 3 month time in Jeju Island, Đức put himself's view at a position of a Vietnamese child who was born after Vietnam War, seeing hearing reading information lines about Jeju 4.3 incident, with the end of WW2 that happened with the involvement of the Japanese, the American the Russian then later the split of North and South Korea - which is similar to Vietnam’s situation in the past.
The composition of the exhibition - presentation is with installations of found objects from Vietnam war surplus market and recorded sounds and voices of survivors in videos displayed at Jeju 4.3 Peace Park Museum. The most visible visual is created by the parachutes bought from war surplus market located in the center of Ho Chi Minh City, they are parachutes from illuminating flare remnants. The are sold in the market by vendeurs with introduction of specific words for Vietnam War objects aiming to collectors and foreign tourists. With his project, Đức colors all the parachutes into pink color as an action of putting layer upon history stories and objects, it is like the aims of war market vendeurs of making stories on all products that they sell whatever that are true or false. That is also similar to history and all what happened in the past, there are always lies and truths, also secrets that are hidden to all people that we all could not find the answer.
The presentation of art works is like a wish of harmony between places and spaces, where there would be no separation of geography border nor discrimination of colors and symbol of festive occasion, places and spaces where at spring time, pink flowers would blossom everywhere with the great harmony of happiness.
Grantee: Tran Minh Duc
Visual artist and ACC alumnus Trần Minh Đức is participating in the group exhibition ‘Singing to the Choir?’ at The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre. Born in 1982 in Ho Chi Minh City, Đức is interested in the interactions between the collective and individual, the local and the foreign. His practice interrogates what it means to be Vietnamese in the complex fabric of today’s conflicted world. He graduated from the painting department of the College of Culture and Arts of Ho Chi Minh City, his work spanning performance, photography, collage, print-making and installation, exploring social memory and cultural archives through an investigation of historical narrative, colonialism, imperialism and the lasting impact of war and migration.
Discover ‘the Vietnamese’ in Đức’s works which will be displayed at the exhibition ‘Singing to the Choir?’ together with works by artists Phan Anh and Ngọc Nâu. The exhibition opens at 6pm, 8 November 2019 at The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre.
Grantee: Tran Minh Duc