Tran Luong

Thanks to Abbas for the nice post about my Vietnam adventures. I’ll try and give a quick and not too boring or self-centered account of the events in the next few days. Until then, a little bit more about the artist we visited and who’s home was so unhappily invaded by government stooges in order to extract yours truly and the photographer Joe Pacheco.

Many critics have singled out Tran Luong, who was included in “Vietnam: Art Actuel,” as the artist of his generation (he was born in 1959) with the most sustained vision. Like any successful artist, he is a good politician–a particularly strenuous task in Vietnam. He has served as the director of Hanoi’s Contemporary Art Center, a modest exhibition space funded in part by the Ford Foundation, and has been able to act as a mediator between the official cultural functionaries and the more adventurous Vietnamese artists. He has had residencies at Art in General in New York and participated in artist workshops in Holland and Italy. A founding member of the Gang of Five, he originally became known for muted abstract paintings and works on paper that dealt with water imagery. As a young boy he was sent to the country many times to escape American bombs. He says that it was perhaps because the realm of ponds and rice paddies was an “alternative world from the bombed city” that he became fascinated by the underwater life that informed his early imagery.

From an article in Art in America.