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Affinity Art – Le Quy Tong’s solo show – True Gold – Chapter II
September 27 @ 12:00 pmOctober 27 @ 7:00 pm HKT
TRUE GOLD: CHAPTER II
LE QUY TONG
27 September – 27 October 2018
To understand bygone events is to open them up for flexible renegotiations. Le Quy Tong’s solo show, “True Gold: Chapter II”, approaches this open-endeness as a feasible means of remembering and moving forward. His altered images of protest, revolution, rubble, and revolt are a way of combating forgetfulness, of prolonging history and highlighting its malleability. For Le, these reminders constitute an absence of certainty and amplify an eternal openness – inviting viewers to reinterpret the past without restraint. The exhibition, thus, does not attempt to re-present specific events, but rather to affirm their permanent, if remodelled, place in history and must be approached, as the theorist Maurice Blanchot puts it, as “the effacement of lines that cannot have been drawn if not by the stroke that now deletes them”. In this vein, Le asks: is it useful, or even possible, to pluck specific moments from the past, reconsider them in the present and offer them up for articulation in the future?
Stemming from his previous series, True Blue – Tong’s first foray into conceptual hybrid painting after a lengthy career break – True Gold reanimates the photographs of revolutionary events. Now in its second chapter, Le’s images are sourced from historical archives and mass media, stripped of their original contexts and appropriated, dissected and redrawn as new, unexpected experiments. He meticulously integrates grids and geometric shapes overlays golden pigment and obliterates signifying identities. Le explains, “I would like to emphasize that imposing an ideology on human beings is to destroy the capacity for freedom of thought and understanding. It is turning people into servants of ideology”. Deliberately obscured and still maintaining an air of True Blue’s sombre tone, it becomes the task of the viewer to decipher between the invented and the genuine, the alternative and evidential.
The artist reminds us that an image’s function in the media only constitutes its first (of many) roles in a fragmented lifespan; there are more iterations, or performances, through which each photograph operates, assuming vastly different identities along this route. There is, however, a unifying theme. Amongst the works selected for “True Gold: Chapter II”, several deal with both active and linguistic protest – shown in signs that scream “United we stand for true democracy!” and “Get out of Vietnam!” – and, despite the presence of peace signs and muted colors, the canvases are loud, boisterous and busy.
As such, text plays an undeniably central role, not only because it places the canvases in specific histories, but because it activates their current associations. The piece, No. 4, illustrating the 1989 Alexanderplatz Demonstrations in East Germany, reads “Occupy Everything” in the center of the hectic, wiry scene. Perhaps a nod to the Occupy Movements circling the globe in 2011, No. 4 depicts not one protest, but the perpetual state of protest. We can still hear their shouts. The words ‘freedom’ and ‘peace’ also emanate throughout the exhibition, encouraging us to define each term, and, in reference to the exhibitions’ title, to ponder their worth – their weight in gold.
In discussing the second chapter of True Gold, Le equates his canvases to cover bands playing resurrected songs. While the original melody remains, the piece is given the new character as it reverberates. He states, “I think this is a necessary action to repeat and reinvent and keep going. I like [how] the old songs are recovered and reworked into new versions. This repetitive action is similar to the way I am redrawing the photos”.
Here the artist leaves us with nothing but questions: What happens when ‘old songs’ – those sung in the key of revolution – are used in a place and time other than where and when they were intended? How does this act of displacement modify memories of the original event and what effect does it have on those who witnessed or remember it? Resonating from moments which are quickly fading from the collective psyche, each of Le’s gilded images is impartial reminders of history, its luxuries, its struggles and its enduring call for reinvention.
LE QUY TONG
Born in 1977 in Hanoi, Le Quy Tong graduated from the Vietnam University of Fine Arts in 2000. In recent years, Tong has exhibited in an array of local and international institutions including the Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts, Henri Martin Museum, the Goethe Institute and Suffusive Art Hanoi. His works are part of the PostVidai, RMIT Hanoi and Bodnár Collections.
Born in 1977 in Hanoi, Vietnam
Currently lives and works in Hanoi, Vietnam
2000 Bachelor in Fine Art, Vietnam University of Fine Arts, Hanoi, Vietnam
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2016 True Gold, Dia Projects, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
2015 True Blue, Manzi Art Space, Hanoi, Vietnam
2014 Catalys, Dong Phong Gallery, Hanoi, Vietnam
2011 New Days, Apricot Gallery, London, United Kingdom
2008 The Pink Days, Vietart Center, Hanoi, Vietnam
2007 Hanoi On The Move, Hanoi Studio Gallery, Hanoi, Vietnam
2006 The Bridges, Dong Phong Gallery, Hanoi, Vietnam
2005 Presence, L’Espace, Hanoi, Vietnam
2005 Sudden Appearance, Suffusive Art Gallery, Hanoi, Vietnam
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2017 The Picture Will Still Exist, Dia Projects, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Present Retrospective, Work Room Four, Hanoi, Vietnam
2016 AIA Vietnam Eye, CaSa Italia Space, Hanoi, Vietnam
The Contemporary Vietnamese Art colllecttion of RMIT University (Hanoi),
RMIT University, Hanoi, Vietnam
2013 The Grapevine Selection Series – Volume1, Vietnam National Fine Arts Museum, Hanoi
2007 Young Artist Festival, Vietnam University of Fine Art, Hanoi, Vietnam
Hanoi 5000 Sword Lake, Vietnam National Fine Arts Museum, Hanoi, Vietnam
2006 Saigon Open City, Fine Art Museum of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Menu, Young Gallery, Hanoi, Vietnam
Exchange, Suffusive Art Gallery, Hanoi, Vietnam
2005 “Trees”, Vietnam University of Fine Arts and the German Embassy, Hanoi,
2004 “PAC III”, Vietnam University of Fine Arts and the Thai American
Artists, Vietnam University of Fine Arts, Hanoi, Vietnam
“Giving Water an Image”, Vietnam University of Fine Art, Hanoi, Vietnam
“Vietnam, Thailand, America”, Bangkok, Thailand
“Moving City”, Goethe Institute, Hanoi, Vietnam
2003 Space No4, Contemporary Fine Art Center, Hanoi, Vietnam
Visage du Vietnam, Henry Martin Museum, Cahors, France
Jeunes Regards, French Embassy, L’Espace, Hanoi, Vietnam
2002 Digital Visual Art , Goethe Institute, Hanoi, Vietnam
The Soul of Vietnam, Viet Fine Art Gallery, Hanoi, Vietnam
1999 Young Artist Asian Exhibition, Japan
2016 Vietnam Eye Contemporary Vietnamese Art – Skira
The Contemporary Vietnamese Art collection of RMIT University (Hanoi)
Bodnár Collection, Nextart Galeria, Budapest, Hungary