The Orient, The Occident

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all photos installation views presented works
Kim Jong Un as his Zodiac Dog
2013
oil on canvas
101.5 x 76 cm
Barack Obama as his Zodiac Ox
2013
oil on canvas
76 x 101.5 cm
Angela Merkel as her Zodiac Horse
2013
oil on canvas
101.5 x 76 cm
Gaura Singh Saini
2013
acrylic on wood panel
45.6 x 35.6 cm
Maibam Prity Devi
2013
acrylic on wood panel
45.6 x 35.6 cm
Malala Yousafzai
2013
acrylic on wood panel
45.6 x 35.6 cm
Nujood Ali
2013
acrylic on wood panel
45.6 x 35.6 cm
Om Prakash Yadav
2013
acrylic on wood panel
45.6 x 35.6 cm
The Oriental Unicorn
2013
oil on paper
61.2 x 45.8 cm
The African Unicorn
2013
oil on paper
61.2 x 45.8 cm
The Occidental Unicorn
2013
oil on paper
61.2 x 45.8 cm
The Apple
2013
oil on canvas
243.8 x 182.8 cm
The Dilemma of Consciousness
2013
oil on canvas
182.7 x 152.4 cm
Blue, White and Red
2013
oil on canvas
122.2 x 122.3 cm
The Visitor
2013
oil on canvas
244 x 182.9 cm
The Descent
2013
oil on canvas
101.5 x 76.1 cm
Salvation for the Heathens
2012
oil on canvas
101.5 x 76 cm
The Myth as Rapist
2013
oil on canvas
157.7 x 137.2 cm
Camo Chronicle Vietnam - USA
2012
oil on hardboard
41 x 51 cm
Camo Chronicle Saudi Arabia
2012
oil on hardboard
41 x 51 cm
My Trophy, Your Saint
2013
oil on oval board
94 x 88 cm

SYNOPSIS

Galerie Quynh is pleased to present ‘The Orient, The Occident’, an exhibition of ambitious new paintings by Lien Truong. The show spans both the De Tham and Dong Khoi spaces and marks Truong’s second solo exhibition at the gallery.

Informed by her research on Orientalist paintings, Imperialist landscapes of the 18th century, and the writings of literary and cultural critic Edward Said, Truong’s new work examines the confusing nature of judgment and the complexity of cross-cultural belief systems.

Rich with symbolism, the allegorical paintings fuse Eastern landscape space with Western oil painting technique to depict fantastical, watery landscapes. Truong integrates human figures, animals, mythical beasts, and hybrids of her own creation into the paintings to interrogate our collective history and invent new narratives.

A phoenix symbolizing empire hovers over eastern peacocks in The Salvation of the Heathens, perhaps referencing western colonial expansion. A white tiger violently accosts a Chinese dragon in Blue, White and Red. The pearl, representing desire, consciousness, and wisdom, becomes an object of exchange in the largest and most symbolically complex works. In The Apple, a western type siren offers a pearl to a kinnari – a half-female, half-bird creature in Buddhist and Hindu mythology –referencing the Fall in the myth of Adam and Eve and even alluding to the history of social taboo proscribing mixed race and same gender unions.  In The Dilemma of Consciousness and The Visitor, pearls are offered from one creature to another, their exchange bringing dubious benefit and subtly foreshadowing calamity.

Also showing are paintings that address the myth of the unicorn and its interpretation in Eastern and Western history. In My Trophy, Your Saint the sacred cow of the Hindu world becomes a hunter’s trophy on an Occidental wall.  Truong compels us to reflect on the way longstanding mythologies and unexamined conceptions wreak havoc on living animal and human populations.

Several smaller work feature heads of state in hybridized form with their corresponding Chinese zodiacal animals. These portraits show the emotional side of power by evoking the qualities of human temperament as represented in the Chinese zodiac and in Greek mythology.

Truong represents mythology, but she also questions the relationship of myth to our evolving morality. She similarly collapses our notions of East and West in paintings that both harmonize and interrogate, echoing Edward Said’s assertion that “Neither the term Orient nor the concept of the West has any ontological stability.”