Thu-Van Tran - Une place au soleil
Thu-Van Tran was born in Ho Chi Minh City in 1979 and came to France with her family in 1981. Her identity is defined by two geographically and culturally distant horizons, connected by the twists and reversals of history. Her work explores the meanders of the intimate and collective memory, and enshrines her own genealogy in a wider historical and symbolic perspective. Her sculptures, photographs, films and installations embody a poetic sense of distance and displacement.
For her solo exhibition at La Grande Place Musée du Cristal Saint-Louis, Thu-Van Tran has initiated a new series of rubberwood sculptures, each incorporating a (defective) crystal object initially destined for the scrapheap. The resulting works mingle two unique materials, each with its own distinctive story. Imported from Indochina in the 1920s, rubberwood is cultivated intensively for the rubber industry. Rubber saplings are grown as grafts on a host plant, and the wood's appearance is modified by its environment. This process of ‘reciprocal contamination' is central to Thu-Van Tran's work, in which materials and objects stain one another, flow, ‘weep', and sometimes leave traces of their presence.
Traces of presence are also central to the photograms produced by the artist for the exhibition, using the rubberwood and crystal sculptures that are displayed in glass cases. The imprint of the objects and bodies placed on the light-sensitive paper becomes a fully-fledged figurative mode, a kind of ‘representation in reverse', in which absence becomes the matrix for other potential narratives.
Thu-Van Tran captures these disparate symbolic, social, historic and technical elements to create a powerful, poetic message of resistance.