Trong Gia Nguyen is a Vietnamese-American artist living and working in Brussels, Belgium and 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 and disrupts the undercarriage of our most trusted spaces –domestic, cultural, political, and economical.
He has exhibited internationally in numerous solo and group exhibitions including: 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). Trong has received grants and residencies from the Museum of Arts & Design (New York, USA), Artist in Residence in the Everglades, LegalArt Miami (USA), Foundation for Contemporary Arts (New York, USA), Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (New York, USA), FabLab (Chico, CA, USA), Harvestworks Digital Media Center (New York, USA), Bronx Museum of the Arts (New York, USA), and Puffin Foundation (New Jersey, USA).
Trong Gia Nguyen produced a series of site-specific photographs and paintings that were reflective of his time and experience in the Everglades. From flora and fauna, to prescriptive fires, to the historic, “hidden” missile base, Nguyen employed these “discoveries” in an ongoing body of representation paintings called Signature Series. Purchasing cheap, signed paintings from secondhand stores in the local area, Trong painted over these images with similar scenes from the Everglades while but preserved the original signature. The project is partially about erasure, renewal, and the fear of what happens when then such heritage disappears, and becomes “anonymous”.
AIRIE is one of the most amazing residencies I’ve ever participated in. While living and working in the natural environs of the Everglades, one cannot underestimate the force of nature. Art is secondary. Respect.