Dubious images

Communication Grounds, Minh Lan Tran’s first solo exhibition is Paris.

Born in Hong Kong in 1997, Minh Lan Tran now lives and works in London. She studied Art History at the Ecole du Louvre, Paris and the University of Oxford. She holds an MA in Byzantine studies and visual theology from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London (2020). Her works have been recently at venues Art Basel, Basel, Jan Kaps, Cologne, Harlesden High Street, Nicoletti Contemporary and the Museum of the Home, London. She recently showed last June her performance ‘Heat Generation (prayer)’, in collaboration with Lena Hetzel as part of the Up Projects performance programme commissioned by London Gallery weekend 2023.

“Communication Grounds” was Minh Lan Tran’s first solo exhibition in Paris (Parliament 10E | PARIS | FRANCE, MAR 02, 2024 – APR 13, 2024.

Here’s how the Press Release begins:

“The image is dubious. We can only consider it partial, often suspect of seduction, manipulation, and deception. Scientific imagery, which has presented itself as a window to the world since the Renaissance, has shown its epistemic ambiguities and the limits of its positivist ambition to be free from human interference. Developing a science of seeing and discernment capacities would thus be necessary to maintain trust in the image. However, this idea also encounters limits as our eyes are linked to objective intelligence without determination and connotations. We are facing a double aporia: the idea of the image as a transmitter of information and our gaze as a neutral extractor of information.”

“Minh Lan Tran approaches with caution the idea of image as a representation—a transparent surface revealing an external, prior reality. The artworks in ‘Communication Grounds’, her first solo exhibition in France, resist our attempts to decipher. There is nowhere to rest our eyes, no secure grip on the canvas to extract a clue to its structuring principle. Even what appears as a sign refuses to make sense. The ideograms of Buddhist prayer books integrated into No heart bone but let it break and Incorp, which Minh Lan Tran does not read but finds familiar, as well as the inscriptions, such as those that cross extensively Reversed Entropy and Fervor, refer more to a graphic mode of existence than to the assertion of an unambiguous meaning. … “

“Freed from the demand for intelligibility and the weight of meaning, Minh Lan Tran’s works exert— like visual litanies—a hypnotic attraction arising from the indistinct. Thus, No heart bone but let it break, named after Dylan Thomas’s poem Visions and Prayer (1945), unfurls an ascending column of prayer sheets, punctuated by the regular succession of pages, as the unvarying sequence of stanzas of Thomas’s poems. However, the vibrancy of a yellow tinge that asserts itself in the exhibition distances us from a state of pleasant unclarity—instead pushing us to the brink of unease.”

She is currently preparing her solo show at Jan Kaps, Cologne in September and a solo show at Paris International, Paris in October.

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