Interview: Tran Van An
Luca Curci talks with Tran Van An during the 15th Edition of VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2022, at Palazzo Bembo.
In the creation of sculpture, some artists work faithfully to a material; some artists are loyal to an image or a theme.
As a sculptor, I frequently use a variety of materials in my sculpture, including ceramic, wood, stone, aluminum, copper, iron, and steel. Each material has different properties, different processing techniques, and different visual effects. Each material has its own challenges. I need dialogue to understand the material and master it. My artistic inspiration also comes from exploring materials. Using the sculptural language of geometric abstraction, minimalist abstraction, and polymorphic abstraction, my sculptures express different topics like inner feelings, reflections on social issues, the environment, and modern urban life, etc.
I want to expand my creative spectrum without being limited to a material, an artistic image, or a certain subject. I want my art to be a filter layer of those cognitive phenomena to produce a consistent sculptural language. My art is as diverse as a visual feast with different dishes for my audience to enjoy and touches various emotional spheres.
Luca Curci – Which subject are you working on?
Tran Van An – As a sculptor, I often work with different topics, such as: inner feelings, reflections on social issues, the environment, modern urban life, etc. During this period, I am exploiting the shape, structure, and growth of plants in the natural world to absorb and create a new sculptural language characterized by shapes that grow from large to small, from root to tip, opening up the dimensions. In this sculptural language, I wanted to create the work as a sign of free growth, from the present to the future, towards the infinite.
LC – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
TVA – I was born in a rural area. From a young age, I often used clay to mold images of buffaloes, cows, agricultural tools, etc. When I grew up, I went to a vocational high school and studied woodcarving. I learned to carve wood with images of birds, animals, human statues, flowers, and other handicrafts there. After graduating from the vocational high school, I returned to my hometown to open a carving workshop to serve the market with contracts to embellish communal houses and pagodas with images of saints, Buddhas, dragons, phoenixes, etc., and make reliefs and paint patterns for other architectural works. To pursue my dream of becoming an artist, I enrolled in the Vietnam University of Fine Arts and studied for 8 years, including 5 years at the university level and 3 years at the graduate level in sculpture. After graduating from the Faculty of Sculpture at the Vietnam University of Fine Arts, I opened a sculpture workshop in Hanoi, Vietnam. I have officially dedicated myself to professional art creation up to now. Looking back on my learning and practice of art creation, I think that I came to art and art came to me as a vocation that God gave me.
LC – How do you choose your subjects? Is it a reasoned or an instinctive process?
TVA – I actively chose the art of sculpture before entering the art school, and I entered the sculpture faculty of the art school to study. That day, I realized I had a strong imagination for shapes rather than colors because I had enjoyed molding the shapes I imagined with clay since I was a child. As a result, I decided to study sculpture. The sculpture art that I pursue is a rational process from the time I attended vocational high school with a major in wood carving until I majored in sculpture at the University of Fine Arts, and up until today, sculpture has been my language of expression.
LC – Do visitors’ suggestions enrich yourself and your art?
TVA – The art of sculpture is tangible; it gives viewers invisible, endless feelings. Standing in front of a work of art, individuals have unique feelings depending on their knowledge, understanding, and vibration, which leads to the viewer’s emotional spheres in the imagination as well as in their own spiritual world. Therefore, the suggestion of art visitors to me is a necessity. By listening to their suggestions, I gain new perspectives, new emotions, and new ideas that enrich myself and my art.
LC – How do you feel when you see your work completed?
TVA – From idea to sketch and until the actualization of a work of my sculpture is a process of emotional nurture, the movement of mental, intellectual, and mechanical energy. And until I finish a work, I feel excited as if it gives me more energy, motivating me to continue carrying out my creative mission, to dedicate myself with the desire to create valuable new works.
LC – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the exhibition or as a part of preexisting works?
TVA – My works on display at the exhibition are part of my existing work. I think it fits the idea of the exhibition. When I submitted my application for the exhibition, they were selected by the curatorial team to be featured in this exhibition.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
TVA – I think the idea of the exhibition is to generalize the works of the artists participating in this exhibition with a multitude of different perspectives and expressions. At the same time, it also evokes new ideas and new concerns about people, nature, the environment, culture, society, tradition, and modernity in my creation.
LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP?
TVA – Participating in the exhibition at VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR by ITSLIQUID GROUP is the first time I knew about ITSLIQUID GROUP, and after following ITSLIQUID GROUP through websites and social networking, I think that ITSLIQUID GROUP is doing a great job in organizing events. Art events provide a wide range of opportunities for artists, the public and collectors.
LC- Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
TVA – I think that ITSLIQUID GROUP is a professional exhibition organizer that acts as a bridge connecting artists with art enthusiasts and collectors; they bring the artist’s work from the studio to the professional gallery space and integrate it with the world’s contemporary art flow. Cooperation with ITSLIQUID GROUP is my wish.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
TVA – The service of ITSLIQUID GROUP is professional and perfect. In addition to participating in joint exhibitions with art forms including photography, painting, video art, installation, sculpture, and performance art, I would like to cooperate with you in the exhibition of painting and sculpture, thematic exhibitions on sculpture, and solo exhibitions.