Galerie Quynh is pleased to present “oNiReaKHoWaRiGNoRaLiSMe” – Truc-Anh’s second solo exhibition at the gallery.
This new body of work draws from the artist’s continued interest in the dichotomy of belief and disbelief, of certainty and doubt, reality and imagination, and the ambiguity of chaos. His oeuvre destabilizes the viewer, creating a sense of vertigo akin to the irrationality of dreams, and plays on the ability to see, observe, recognize and abandon our worldly knowledge and rational perception. Truc-Anh describes the works as a “search for a triumph of sensation over concept.”
The title of the exhibition poses itself as a riddle and reveals some of the diverse ideas, concepts and sources of inspiration for the artist, which range from art and human history to the history of representation and contemporary popular culture. The ‘isme’ (ism) ending of the indecipherable word suggests a school of thought, to which the artist adheres and which he invites us to participate in.
At the entrance to the exhibition, Ready to see – a small drawing of a dead woman transported by two angels inspired by William Bouguereau’s 1878 A soul in the sky – greets visitors, in much the same guise as Dante’s passage written on the infernal gate welcomed and warned those who would enter. But Truc-Anh is not alluding to a loss of hope, rather he incites us to forgo rationality and points to the beginning of wonder: the image stands as an invitation to losing oneself in a parallel world, where our perception of reality and certitude need to be abandoned and our minds let to roam freely.
Truc-Anh’s world is one of enigmas and myriad references charged with personal cum universal symbolism. Small portraits are drawn from German photographer Juergen Teller’s book Woo!, (a smorgasbord of imagery that collapses the boundaries between art, fashion and advertising) while large one-panel and multi-panel canvases include depictions of fictional characters, such as Japanese anime master Hayao Miyazaki’s ‘No Face’ spirit from his award winning Spirited Away cartoon epic, or from the Harry Potter saga, such as in his ink drawing of Voldemort.
Truc-Anh seems to be particularly attracted to cast-away figures, at times potentially or clearly evil, who embody the darkest and most hidden truths of human nature. However, these malevolent or alienated individuals are balanced by the presence of benevolent ones, such as the Brothers Grimm’s Rapunzel or the powerful fighter Oni in the Street Fighter video games, transformed into a woman in Croco Queen. In his most elaborate works, Truc-Anh often communicates a sense of loss, confusion and alienation from reality, with a savior or powerful entity who appears to restore a precarious emotional and visual equilibrium.
Truc-Anh’s paintings are rich in overlapping tales, juxtaposed to create an enigmatic, greater narrative that functions like a puzzle. His stories do not follow a chronological or linear structure but rather a circular one, almost viciously so that his imagery has the power of confounding and questioning reason, challenging the viewer’s knowledge. His inspiration for the multilayered stories in his oeuvre is well explained by controversial French author, filmmaker and poet Michel Houellebecq – the subject of one of his drawings – who wrote in his book La carte et le territoire (The map and the territory, 2010): “I think I’ve more or less finished with the world as narration – the world of novels and films, the world of music as well. I’m now only interested in the world as juxtaposition – that of poetry and painting.”