A Better Tomorrow
Article published in My Thuat Magazine (trad. Art Magazine)
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Truc Anh reserves his moments and ideas in his artworks. He can paint, sculpt, make art video and perform... but this interview focuses on his art video, because his 'Sadako l'Insulaire' video is really something quite special.
Vietnamese-born French artist Truc Anh goes back and forth between Sai Gon and Paris, and later on he usually stays in these cities to work on his projects. It was difficult trying to get a hold of him, because he was always busy travelling around, and until we finally met, it could be seen that he was very "crazy".
Q - How did you come to practising contemporary art? Was there any special reason for you to choose Sai Gon as your ideal destination for inspirations?
Photography, video art, sketching, sculpture, performances are just like hands, each of them has their own purpose and is all very interesting. Taking photographs is easy but it requires me to have the tools to be creative, and it helps to capture all my abstract ideas. Sketching is like a meaningful artwork about the past. Video has the power to attract the audience. But the important thing is my ideas. Just think of my mind as an octopus, and the octopus has many many hands to cling on to many things. When I was a kid, I drew a lot but I never named my artworks, later on I decided to keep something for myself. And then I came to contemporary art, and started to create them like my breath.
I came to Vietnam 3 years ago, at that time there are not many people who were interested in art. Because of this, I was able to focus on working without any curiosity or disturbance from the outside, just like I needed a few years to focus on my work, my art. And now, when the art scene in Vietnam is becoming livelier, I feel very content with this.
Q - There is a saying in ancient Egyptian belief that says, you're doing art because you're afraid of "death". To you, is it one of the reasons that motivates and nurtures your inner artist so that you are be able to work every day?
That is an interesting question! I'm more afraid of disappearing rather than death, and this is the reason why I need to be creative and share my remarks. Only human leaves behind so many things, and a good brush will exist beyond us, so deeper traces will last for longer. Of course there are other ways to show that we exist... love, laugh, make money...
Q - I watched many of your videos, and honestly, they are not really "normal" (of course this is also an artist's success). In real life, are you influenced by the abnormality that exists in your work?
I am truly happy and blessed to have friends and my family who recognise and accept me for who I am. I always think that a normal person doesn't exist but is merely an illusion.
Q - How long does it take you to make an art video? Do you have a team who helps you in your creativity?
I make a video in 2 or 3 years. My first video is called "Omega3", and it took me 3 years to come up with the idea and organise everything in my head. Obviously I work alone, there is no team, but sometimes a few friends would help. I'm used to working alone, because my work reflects a lot about the subject of loneliness. I felt very comfortable and free in the process of working on this subject. But I don't feel like I needed to run, chase after or be in a hurry for it.
Q - You didn't run, chase after or be in a hurry for it, but when you were living in it, was it like a rebellion that made you feel like you wanted to explode?
You can watch my project "Sadako l'Insulaire", where I lived alone on an island for a month. I acted as a ghost but I was terrified of ghosts. It was horrifying, but art is not always easy nor brings happiness to people. An artwork, before it can make an impression with the audience, it first has to make an impression with the artist.
Q -What are your requirements towards your own artworks, especially with videos?
I'd put myself in the viewers' position, with the same level of knowledge, without any expectation of how story would go, or how it would end.
Q - When do you normally work in the day?
For many years I only work at night or at noon in my studio. I would sketch, or sometimes I'd have some rituals to help prepare a better mood for working such as playing Starcraft 2.
Q - What are your upcoming projects?
I've just finished working on a project in Switzerland and Belgium, where I'll have a few solo exhibitions at Gallery Sator in 2 weeks and Gallery Arty Family in Paris. After that I'll have a showcase of photographs about Sai Gon at the New Delhi Photography Fair in India. In November I'll have a few performances with Albus Lux in Holland, and then another project in Sai Gon.