Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Bittersweet Taste of Vietnam & Cambodia

Some classmates and I went to the Ke Center for the Contemporary Arts' Cambodia and Vietnam Exhibition called "Strategies from Within." We walked into a cozy little exhibition with very few but quality art works. I thought it was very unique how there were small exhibition rooms within exhibition rooms and if you turn around, one would encounter exhibition spaces hidden on the sides too. This random set-up collaborated smoothly with the miscellaneous pieces of eclectic artworks.

Despite the language barrier and my unfamiliarity with the Cambodian and Vietname way of life and culture, I was astounded by the screaming emotions and meanings that touched me. That is my favorite part of art; art has no language. In fact, art itself is a common language that seems to connect the world together.

I loved today's exhibition so much, because I encountered upon an artist and his artwork that spoke to me the most out of any art works I have seen here. The artist's name is Truong Tan. His four artworks were hung side by side, and as soon as I saw them, I immediately could feel his emotions. Anger, pain, ad bitterness screamed out of each and every one of those pieces. The colors itself spoke better than words. His use of red and black especially. My favorite out of the four pieces was called Artist's Portrait (below).
There are so many things that can be said about this painting. I think it spoke to me more because this was his self-portrait. The bleeding red tears especially got to me. If tears signify sadness, tears of blood signifies excruciating heartache. Almost like an open wound that won't stop gushing. The knife stabs right at his heart. It exemplifies what all humans feel when going through intense heartbreak and sadness. No wonder people seem to always express: "I feel like I just got my heart ripped out," or "I feel like I just got stabbed in the heart." What was most interesting were the humans inside him drawn in red. You can't see very clearly from the photo, but the three figures rolling around in different positions with grin-like expressions seem to represent the antagonists who are taunting and harassing the artist. The one standing up representing the artist who is throwing his arms up in mercy. It was also interesting how the knife was right above these figures trapped inside him, because it seemed to signify the hatred and angst towards the cause of the pain as well as towards himself for feeling so. The gray colored body also expressed so much--darkness signifying gloominess, depression, and death. This portrait screamed the loudest.

The other three artworks by this artist as you can see below yell out so much angst as well.
I was astounded by the acute communication of emotions that Truong Tan was able to achieve through his artworks.
Title: I Piss on All of You
Title: You Are Not Good as People, Think You Will Die

Title: Baby He is Not Yours

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