Art exhibition: Persona by Tuyp Tran

August 30, 2017 | 07:20 pm PT
Opening: 06:00 pm, Thu 31 Aug 2017
An attempt to confront contradictions and desires of the mind.

From Dia Projects

About Tuýp Trần

Tuýp Trần (Tran Quoc Huy, b. 1988) is a self-trained Vietnamese artist who uses a wide range of themes, symbols, and forms to explore our hidden nature. Tuýp uses pen and color markers on paper and wood to create intricate works which slowly reveal itself to viewers.

Tuýp showed Psyche, a collection of 16 works at Địa Projects in April 2016 and now returns with Persona, which expands his initial questioning.

About Persona Exhibition

Psyche, Tuýp first exhibition at Địa Projects, sought to confront contradictions and desires of the mind, repackaging them in allegorical and alluring imagery. In Persona Tuýp zooms out a little and raises many questions which are made visible through an exploration of religious, political and scientific narratives. Where do we get our personalities from? How do we navigate with the gulf between what we think we are and how we are perceived? To what extent are we in control of this process?

Our personas are bound to where we have come from and Tuýp chooses to align his selection with one of the most collectively recognizable origin tales: the Christian story, from Genesis to Revelation. Here, a supposed back story of our moral makeup is visualized. In Touch of Creation, near-touching hands are foregrounded in a reference to Michelangelo’s famous fresco. Similarly, in Seed of Sins, we see two hands centered in the frame, this time depicting the iconic acceptance of the forbidden fruit and its implications of original sin. Cryptic patterns and protruding shapes dance and overlap, giving a sense of agitation and movement. A decorative yin-yang and a pointed nautical compass seem to embody both direction and tension. Here, Tuýp not only reminds us of our potential for sin, but ask us to consider where it comes from, by looking deeper.

In terms of introspection, Tuýp recognizes that his process entails ‘delving deeply for detail’ and that sometimes it would be useful to have a harness in order to reposition. The pieces are replete with images that offer boundless intrigue, taking on renewed significance with each new journey the eye has made to find them. Tuýp has suggested that a significant premise for his work is the notion that ‘everything comes from something’.

In the collection’s largest piece, we see a psychedelic skyline with boozy figures emerging from a forest of shape and color. These strange portraits loom large in front of a speckled sky that is fiery, moonlit and amethyst. They are thrilling personas: charged, sexualized, depraved and leering. There is the sense of hidden impulses being extracted and worn as a mask. Tuýp uses patterns and symbols to connect them irrevocably to their environment, giving the sense that they melt into one at the base. Is the viewer challenged to consider the extent to which we are a product of our environment? If so, then what control do we have over this process and how it informs the way we are perceived?

Our notions of ‘persona’ then, like the pieces in this exhibition, present themselves ambiguously. They come from somewhere, but their origins are dazzling and difficult to discern. Tuýp shows this struggle and it is one that we all relate to. However, bewildering, we are invited to delve in for a closer look.

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