Trong Gia Nguyen, Despite Your Destination (detail), 2017, Acrylic on wood, 96 x 214.5 x 1.7 cm, Courtesy of the artist
May 25–August 26, 2018

Trong Gia Nguyen

My Myopia

Keenly aware of power dynamics in museum and gallery settings, Trong Gia Nguyen seeks to disturb and reinvent traditional viewing experiences. Nguyen’s series of windows replicate the familiar iron security window grates that are commonly found in older colonial homes in Vietnam. However, as they are constructed of thin wood, this version is incredibly fragile and unable to serve any purpose of security. Their design contains pleasant geometric patterns that can go unnoticed. As such, Nguyen purposefully extracts them from everyday utility. The surface facing out of each window is painted with an “imprint of the other side,” revealing parts of a sunset, evening lamp, starry sky, historical event, or other illumination that one “does not fully see,” recording missed fragments and maintaining disruption as it completes the whole. Separated from their surrounding architecture, the windows become skeletons and bare bone witnesses to the mundane, socio-political, historical, and mystical.

Born in Orlando, Trong Gia Nguyen is a Vietnamese-American artist living and working in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. His wide array of works examines structures of power in their myriad forms, scrutinizing the soft foundation upon which contemporary life plays out, often behind the façade of fairness, sincerity, security, tradition, and civility. Regularly employing humor while at other times engaging sober reflection, Nguyen’s work elevates the condition of doubt as it reveals the undercarriage of our most trusted spaces –domestic, cultural, political, and economic-, laboring to disrupt the mundane while walking the fine line between joy and sorrow, subtlety and blatancy, night and light, and beauty and beast. Recent exhibitions include California Pacific Triennial, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport, CA, USA (2017); The Foliage, Vincom Center for Contemporary Art, Hanoi, Vietnam, (2017); The Others, Piazzale Valdo Fusi, Torino, Italy (2015); Eye on the Storm, Housatonic Museum of Art, Connecticut, USA (2013); Satellites in the Night, Freies Museum, Berlin, Germany (2010), The Sixth Borough, New York, USA (2010); Sequences, Reykjavik, Iceland (2008); and Performa 05, Artists Space, New York, USA (2005).

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