Art Labor is an artist collective based in Ho Chi Minh City, who work in between visual arts, social and life sciences in order to produce alternative non-formal knowledge via artistic and cultural activities in various public contexts and locales. It includes 3 core members as cultural workers: artists Phan Thao-Nguyen, Truong Cong Tung and curator/writer Arlette Quynh-Anh Tran.
Art Labor collective started their journey since 2012, when the three old friends decided to move back to Saigon (officially known as Ho Chi Minh City). Thao-Nguyen, Cong Tung & Arlette found Art Labor to respond the mutual difficulty in working collaboratively and inter-disciplinary in Vietnam. From the beginning until now, Art Labor have been working with many collaborators, from anthropologists, filmmakers, curators, writers, archivist, artists to ophthalmologists, patients, farmers, artisans and entrepreneurs. Each project is considered an experiment to test boundaries of art, in term of exhibition forms, exhibition venues, artist’ role, curating limit, value and appreciation of art in society.
Arlette Quynh-Anh Tran, curator
Arlette Quynh-Anh Tran (b. 1987, Berlin) lives and works in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). She has participated in various cultural and visual art projects as coordinator, curator, researcher or advisor. She is currently a member of Art Labor, and Assistant Curator at Sàn Art. In 2007 she curatorially assisted Rirkrit Tiravanija and Gridthiya Gaweewong for the Saigon Open City project, the first large-scale biannual exhibition of contemporary art in Vietnam. Tran is also a writer on creativity and contemporary art for a number of publications. Recently, she curated series of Sàn Art Productions x PhuongMy (2013-now), Echoing Nostalgia. Collecting Countermemory (2013), Unconditional Belief (2014) and was a researcher for Asia Art Archive (2011-13).
Thao-Nguyen Phan, artist
Through literature, philosophy and daily life, Phan Thảo Nguyên observes ambiguous issues in social convention, history and tradition. An honours graduate from Singapore’s Lasalle College of the Arts in 2009, four years later Phan Thảo Nguyên received an MFA in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).Today, in addition to her work as a multimedia artist, she has joined forces with artist Trương Công Tùng and curator Arlette Quỳnh-Anh Trần to form Art Labor. This collective explores cross-disciplinary practices and develops art projects that will benefit the local community. Phan Thảo Nguyên is expanding her “theatrical fields”, including what she calls performance gesture and moving images. Phan Thảo Nguyên has exhibited widely in Southeast Asia and is a 2016-2017 Rolex Protégée, mentored by internationally acclaimed, New York-based, performance and video artist, Joan Jonas.
Truong Cong Tung, artist
Born in 1986, Trương Công Tùng grew up in Dak Lak among various ethnic minorities in the Central Highlands, Vietnam. He graduated from the Ho Chi Minh Fine Arts University in 2010, majoring in lacquer painting. With research interests in science, cosmology and philosophy, Trương Công Tùng works with a range of media, including video, installation, painting and found objects, which reflect personal contemplations on the cultural and geopolitical shifts of modernization, as embodied in the morphing ecology, belief or mythology of a land. He is also a member of Art Labor (founded in 2012), a collective working between visual art and social/life sciences to produce alternative non-formal knowledge via artistic and cultural activities in various public contexts and locales.
Trương Công Tùng has exhibited extensively in Vietnam and abroad as a solo artist and as part of Art Labor Collective. Select recent exhibitions include Bangkok Art Biennale (2018), "Between Fragmentation and Wholeness" at Galerie Quynh in Ho Chi Minh City (2018), "A Beast, a God, and a Line" at Para Site, Hong Kong (2018) and Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw (2018), Dhaka Art Summit, Dhaka (2018), Carnegie International 57th edition at Carnegie Museum of Art (2018), Cosmopolis at the Centre Pompidou, Paris (2017).