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