The Game of the Faith


Essay by Lisa Gerven

Curator MUHKA - Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, 

Belgium, 2013

For a long time, the artist was seen as somebody who had access to the true nature of life, the genuine, higher truth, maybe even to the sublime. It was his job to make this knowledge comprehensible for the common man. Truc-Anh, however, does something radically different. What Truc-Anh shows is the confusing part of life. He presents a fractured world. Or how Kara Rooney defined it adequately: “In Truc-Anh’s world there is no paradise, only paradise lost.”

“A stark reality of the instability of existence comes to the fore.”

In this short presentation there are three aspects I want to point out, because I strongly believe that these aspects define the power that radiates from the works of Truc-Anh. For one thing, there is always a kind of duality integrated in- and forthcoming out of the works. Let us call this aspect the duality of the image.

The viewer seems to find himself in a state of confusion. On the one hand the works tend to seduce us, on the other hand we get repelled. True aspects of life are being touched, but these different revelations are always followed by doubt. Different sides and different layers of the human conditions are shown and deconstructed. “Our own feelings of chaos, destruction, believe and doubt are being triggered and aroused.” This is encouraged by Truc-Anh’s working method, technique and materials. He wants to challenge the viewer to repeatedly redefine himself within a specific frame.

This brings me to the second most important aspect of what in my believe is why Truc- Anh’s work is so powerful and endearing: Truc-Anh plays with representation and the viewers own constructions of truth and meaning. He is fascinated by the people’s own personal view, by what the eye sees, or what it thinks to see. Through his paintings, Truc-Anh encourages viewers to actively engage, pause and ponder. What is made visible through careful layers of applied pigments. Our eyes will always try to find stability. But Truc-Anh drastically destabilizes the image, engaging himself against the passivity of the view.

Different segments of subjects/topics are shown in different layers. “But it is in the fragment that we experience life.” Truc-Anh: “It is not that I want to create a special code linked with special meaning, however it is quite the opposite. I try to find myself in what is lost.” The work below, called The Game of Faith, serves to me as an illustration of a third important aspect of Truc-Anh’s work. It functions as another peephole into Truc-Anh’s thoughts.

The different blocks are shaped after the two terms belief and doubt. Life is about making choices. Choice after choice, you have to take a leap of faith to find your way through everything that crosses you. The further you go, the more you chose your direction, things seem nearly to fall apart.