24 heures à Hanoï
Thu Van Tran
Curatorship: Claire Le Restif
“These 24 hours in Hanoï follows a woman as she meanders through a city she is unaware of, during the time span of one rotation of the Earth, divided equally between one day and one night. This cycle leads to a succession of revelations to which Hoa Mi responds mutely: the silence of contemplation, and that of the outsider. Innocent and kind, she is a sort of lost Candide, except for what she’s doing: retracing a family history long kept buried. Hoa Mi the lock picker.
The past is sometimes unable to intercede in the present. But on the contrary, in Hanoi, time’s circle seems to have been distorted into an imperfect curve, like the country’s sinuous and humid geography. Past and present confront each other in a ceaseless, futile tug of war. No future emerges on the horizon. Dreaming or awake? These twenty-four hours are a theater of apparitions, souls who will revisit our present existence, turtles who will recite poems while we remain prisoners of the discord of a country now transfixed by the paradoxes of its past.
This dead end, closed off centuries before to the history of Vietnam at the moment when it lost its original language—can the enchanted eyes of an outsider finally find a way out?”
— Excerpt from the narration of the film 24 hours in Hanoï.
Thu Van Tran, born in 1979 in Ho Chi Minh City, drew on her own experience as a Vietnamese women living in France to explore the question of physical and cultural displacement, especially through episodes in colonial history. Here that personal experience is transcribed into an initiatory journey and the reality of a political context. For 24 hours in Hanoï she conceived an unusual metaphor inspired by the spirit of the eighty-two wise turtles, the guardians of Vietnam’s poetic and scholarly heritage, located in Hanoi’s Temple of Literature. The artist made an installation using wax sculptures to restore their presence. Their mute presence is paired with an experimental 16mm film and a fresco pierced with shards that punctuate the exhibition’s stories and poetry. As in all of her work, here she introduces aesthetic experience as a modality of a possible rereading of history, wonderment as a counterpoint to violence.
Exhibition Film, directed by Thomas James. © Le Crédac, 2019.
Born in 1979 in Ho Chi Minh City, Thu Van Tran lives and works in Paris. From 1997 to 2004 she studied at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. She is represented by Meessen De Clercq (Brussels) and Rüdiger Schöttle (Munich) galleries.
Her work has recently been shown at the Centre Pompidou during the exhibition of the Marcel Duchamp Prize 2018 for which she is nominated, on the occasion of a duo-show with Franz West at Nathalie Seroussi gallery, at the Cristallerie Saint-Louis as part of an exhibition off the walls at Delme Synagogue, A Place in the Sun (cur. Marie Cozette); or during group exhibitions at the Petit Palais, FIAC Projects (cur. Marc-Olivier Wahler), the MAMAC in Nice, Cosmogonies, au gré des éléments (cur. Hélène Guénin) or the Carré d’Art de Nîmes, Un désir d’archéologie (cur. Jean-Marc Prevost), in the same year. In 2017, she participated in the international exhibition of the 57th Venice Biennale Viva Arte Viva (cur. Christine Macel) as well as at the Moderna Museet during a major exhibition on the colonial question, Manipulate the world. She has had solo exhibitions in Ladera Oeste (Guadalajara), in the n.b.k. Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (Berlin), the Macleay Museum in Sydney, the Abattoirs (Toulouse) or La Maison Rouge-Patio (Paris), Bétonsalon (Paris). And was, in 2014, co-curator with Jean-Max Colard of the exhibition Duras Song, dedicated to the work and archives of Marguerite Duras, which was held at the Centre Pompidou (Bpi).
Her works are part of the collections of the MNAM, the MAC VAL, the Kadist Foundation, the Gensollen collection and the Vehbi Koç Foundation in Istanbul.
With the generous support of the Taguchi Art Collection, Tokyo, and help from the RAJA Group.
This exhibition is part of the event Plein Soleil 2019, l’été des centres d’art, a project of d.c.a, l’Association française de développement des centres d’art contemporain.
Sponsoring for the opening : Grolsch, Les Nouveaux Robinson