Wednesday December 12th, 2018


Young Vietnamese fine artist Truong The Linh deals with contemporary figurative painting in his first solo gallery exhibition which he has entitled Instability. Linh’s paintings arguably focus just as much on the medium of paint, and how it reacts on the surface of his canvases, as they do on the subjects of the paintings. In his new collection of works, the artist continues to explore the sensuous realm of paint, skin and figuration seen in his earlier paintings. His style is unmistakably dramatic and unique and with his methodology he forms images of hidden expression.

An important element in Linh’s paintings is light and shadow; they evoke an extreme contrast. The monochrome, mostly black backgrounds put the bodies in the foreground in a glaring spotlight. The dramatic image composition exposes its protagonists helplessly to the viewer’s gaze. Those protagonists are young men whose bodies seemingly emerge from the background without any contours. Linh adopts the effect of blurring; this blurs, irritates, unsettles and confronts the viewer with the question of the reality of the perceived. The paintings change between the realism of a photograph and the play of colors in abstract painting. Intense red or orange colors are accented in the dark; emphatic brushstrokes and structures whirl up the emotions. People become diffuse clouds of movement in the free fall of their feelings. Their blurring is the resistance to the optical terror of the all too clear; their ambiguity allows the viewer the freedom to interpret.


Flash, 2018, Acrylic on canvas, 150 x 100 cm

See full collection here

Linh’s characters become his own in the painting process. They express what he feels. It might be loneliness, confusion and all the inner states of mind which only come to light in intimate moments. In the many works that depict young men, they become his Doppelgängers. His figures seem hopeless, trapped in darkness. But especially in the applied black, the artist also expresses the light. Especially in his absence it becomes visible. The artist seeks the light absorbed by the black, while a white would merely reflect it.

With his first solo exhibition at Craig Thomas Gallery, Linh presents a devotional as well as profound artistic reflection of life; one which reaches to no less than the existential condition of our lives. His pictures lead us to where we may be reluctant to go. They provide a projection of our own insecurities, and, as so often, it is the perspective from the edge that makes people visible.

“Characters in my paintings are actually small pieces of a bigger puzzle of me. They are my confidences that I send behind these bodies. I think they are the silence of feelings secretly hidden inside each individual. They are born from relationships, temptations or injustices of society. They might suffer, might resist or simply adapt themselves in a conventional space.

“I decided to paint my uncertain feelings about life and youth. To condense all the unfathomable feelings, a screen for my emotions and all the emotions that occupy people.”

Cintia Herzberger

November 2018