Galerie Quynh is pleased to present 8 Hearts – an exhibition of new and recent work by Vietnamese-French artist Truc-Anh. For his third solo exhibition at the gallery, Truc-Anh tells a complex and nuanced story of transformation and awakening. The artist’s practice has always been defined by his navigation of parallel terrains – the tension between personal histories and age-old wisdoms, between an egocentric need to succeed and the Buddhist philosophy of being selfless. The title of the show exemplifies these dynamics, being a reference to the video games of Truc-Anh’s childhood while also alluding to metaphysical dimensions.
Inspired by a series of ritual events he experienced recently in Nepal, the artist ruminates on the theme of mortality in 8 Hearts – the exhibition an imagining of a journey through the afterlife. Seen this way, the entrance of the exhibition can be considered as a sort of threshold to cross over – between the past and the present, between one world and another. A giant sculpture of an all-seeing eye – a familiar concept in many religions symbolizing lucidity – casts its gazes at eight small drawings of the personifications of the artist’s fears and dreams. The creature from the Japanese horror cinema classic Ringu makes a cameo as does the fighter Oni from the video game Street Fighter.
Truc-Anh’s paintings, drawings and sculptures – whether appearing sparse and quiet, or posing as dense visual riddles – attempt to portray the continual shifts from the corporeal to the astral and back. The idea of perpetual motion shines through elements taken from the lore of both ancient mythology and modern popular culture as well as from the artist’s own experiences. In particular, the symmetrical number eight – representing a perfect loop and infinity – appears in many of the works while references to rebirth, healing and impermanence interspersed with images of the ego, vanity and conceit are also prevalent.
Towards the conclusion of 8 Hearts, a sculpture of Anubis, the Egyptian deity of the dead, keeps watch over a slowly spinning circle. Ancient Egyptians believed that one’s passage to the afterlife could only be gained if one’s heart was deemed to be worthy, true, light as a feather. And it is Anubis – suspended between two worlds – who carries out this weighing of the heart. While 8 Hearts touches on deeply personal truths experienced by the artist, it is also a wondrous journey filled with allegory relevant to our everyday existence.