Ho Chi Minh City

Truong Tan, Ablaze, 2019, mixed media on wood, 31 1⁄2 × 47 1⁄4".

Truong Tan, Ablaze, 2019, mixed media on wood, 31 1⁄2 × 47 1⁄4".

Truong Tan

Galerie Quynh

Truong Tan, known as Vietnam’s “first openly gay artist,” has also been called an enfant terrible. No stranger to controversy, he has had his fair share of run-ins with Vietnam’s cultural censors, having made works addressing thorny issues such as male homosexuality and police corruption. It was with no small surprise, then, that I encountered this latest exhibition: a presentation of lacquer paintings portraying planets suspended in galaxies. Accompanying these twenty-four works were two large-scale fabric installations and a vitrine displaying the tools and materials used in his working process.

Truong Tan has worked with lacquer for more than twenty years, but his earlier works in the medium are decidedly more visceral in their imagery, often depicting erect phalluses and his signature imagery of naked male bodies in distressing, sexual, or abject scenarios. By comparison, these

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