detail: Catherine, 3D printed mask, plastic 

The Doubter , 2016, Acrylic and oil pastel on wood panel

The Third, 2016, Oil pastel on foam core with drawing installation 

The Holder, 2016, Acrylic and oil pastel on panel

New York-based curatorial advisor Helen Varola established VAROLA at the landmark Pacific Design Center, West Hollywood in 2014. The gallery aims to present new ambitious projects with artists, operating as a project space and production site for recent contemporary art with a focus on design as an extension of artistic practice. 

Mermaids of Times, 2016, Acrylic on 5 carved wood boards 

Truc-Anh: Vacuphilia

Through February 24

Opening: Friday, January 27


Varola gallery is pleased to present Vacuphilia, the first exhibition of Vietnamese-French artist Truc-Anh in the US. Organized by curator Pierre Lefort, this solo show presents a selection of new works created by the artist while in residence at Wərkärtz downtown Los Angeles last spring. Distinctly urban, dynamic and contemplative, Truc-Anh works in a range of media that includes drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, installation and performance. Recently, he has been focusing considerable attention to painting and sculpture wishing to challenge our modern condition of passive viewing and invite further meditation. 

Born in 1983 in Paris, Truc-Anh studied at Ecole Boulle, National School of Applied Art in Paris, he was degreed of a BFA, 
a MFA and a Aggregation at La Cambre, École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels, Brussels, Belgium. Then in 2006, he obtained a Post Degree  ECAL, University of Art and Design in Switzerland where he was awarded the Prix de la Fondation Manganel. Since 2008, Truc-Anh has exhibited extensively in galleries and institutions in Europe and Asia, including Art Stage Singapore, Singapore (2016); Albus Lux Gallery, Roosendaal, Netherlands (2015) ; Sator Gallery, Paris, France (2015) ; Museum CODA, Apeldoorn, Netherlands (2014), Quynh Gallery, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (2014) ; Solo Art Project, Basel, Switzerland (2013), Delhi Photo Festival, New Delhi, India (2013), BOZAR, Brussels, Belgium (2008). Truc-Anh currently lives and works between Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and Los Angeles.

About the exhibition:

« The more closely attention is given, the more difficult it becomes to fix something by name, or by relation to other things. It begins to move into another being. »
                                                                                                         John Cage

On the threshold of two worlds, black and white, The Holder seems eager to absorb everyone who approaches it, as if bound hand and foot, eyes wide open. Their gaze is captured, then lost in the meanderings of its members. Neither full nor empty, the body in the painting is transforming. When the viewer begins to contemplate it, boundaries disappear: inside and outside, time and space, body and mind, masculine and feminine. Everywhere a timeless black background. Is it a different state of consciousness? A dream? A hallucination? Truc-Anh summons a bestiary populated with chimeras absorbed in a state of contemplation. The Dilettante has the look of a collage. The Doubter drapes itself in lace whose interlacing figure-eights suggest the presence of the infinite in everything. The fragile, elegant silhouette of The Shameful drifts indecisively as if levitating. Out of nothingness, these evanescent apparitions are defiant, each fragmentary in its own way.

The transmutation continues, generating new forms. Five pairs of legs are adorned with ballet shoes, aligned horizontally and suspended. Mermaids of Time pull careless travelers toward them. A swing reveals their silent charm. The pendulum’s oscillations induce a state of hypnosis. Synchronized and ordered at first, the overall movement is transformed, little by little, into a chaotic energy. Neither simultaneity nor succession, time shatters into a multitude of fractions. Totally abolished perhaps. Does the present moment remain? Drawing brings the artist closer to this fleeting point in time. It offers the illusion of seizing an instant, but also of thrusting out of flatness into space. The mobile sculpture, The Third, is made of seven oval forms set into each other on an axis, from the smallest to the largest. The drawing unfolds thus into three-dimensional space and beyond, through movement, into a fourth one.

The broken balance precipitates a clash of two ages, two cultures. Catherine is presented on a plinth, like an ethnographic object. The missing pieces of a white mask, inspired by Noh theater, uncover a black shape, the emaciated face of a futuristic machine, a Terminator. An object from traditional Japanese dramatic art and a Hollywood blockbuster icon form a hybrid cultural entity, at once Eastern and Western. Apparent serenity and calm conceal fury and destruction. A player of chess and Go, Truc-Anh’s work might be easily confined to an identity drawn from European and Asian culture. But the artist plays with borders. He uses his freedom to dialogue through time and eras with his predecessors. He challenges the chronology of a linear time in which the modern notion of progress illuminates the path forward. Art then becomes the instrument of an anxious meditation enlightened by the observation of the world and its mysterious structures.

                                                                                              Pierre Lefort

(Tranlated from French)

© 2014 VAROLA, West Hollywood