‘Painting is a sequence of experience. I usually work on many paintings at once. I try to simplify as far as possible the colors, figures, and lines in my paintings.’
Nguyen Thanh Truc began his career making calm and poetic mixed media paintings that incorporated mosquito netting, string and paper, in which space and atmosphere mingled with the changing effects of light. He then abandoned collage techniques to explore the surface of the artwork with rich paint density, in a series of heavily built-up monochromatic paintings on board.
An interest in the surface texture has continued to pervade his artwork of the last decade with a return to collage, but of a minimalistic and methodical appearance. Using cleanly cut pieces of Vietnamese newspapers and magazines, Truc’s impeccably finished canvases are precise linear arrangements of vertical or horizontal lines of text. Controlled measure of form with a free use of color create aesthetically balanced paintings in which the visible text suggests narratives that could be less random than the technique would lead us to think. The precision of the layout compels us to assume that the choice of legible writing cannot also be so systematically planned. Yet regardless of how carefully the artist may have chosen each piece of paper, making decisions for either aesthetic or narrative reasons, the artworks in their materiality simultaneously show and hide statements about Vietnam’s social, political and economic conditions.
Born in 1969, Nguyen Thanh Truc graduated from the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts University in 1993. His paintings are held in private collections in Europe, the U.S. and in the Asia-Pacific region.