Tomatoes present circle of life
By My Tran in HCMC
Craig Thomas Gallery on Thursday opened ‘The Scar’, a solo exhibition by Hue-based artist Nguyen Thi Thanh Mai, featuring strange installation artworks made of tomatoes presenting many metaphors for viewers to work out their meaning.
|A visitor walks by an artwork by Nguyen Thi Thanh Mai at Craig Thomas Gallery in District 1 Photo: My Tran |
In her main body of work, Mai uses tomatoes as her principal material. She squeezes and squashes them into an unrecognizable mass; the pulp erupts abruptly, deforms and slowly dries up. This process can be compared to a painful and traumatic experience, where at first the pain and suffering is sudden and powerful, almost unbearable, until it slowly subsides and is eventually forgotten.
The predominant red of the tomatoes is combined with the white of raw rubber, evoking the texture and layers of the flesh of human bodies. With time, the materials will decompose and deform, withering, rotting, smelling and evoking the passing of time, forgetting, regret, nostalgia and death.
All these factors combine together to create a work that is centered upon the injuries and pain in one’s life, and that in time is healed but is never completely forgotten. Lines of black threads are seen as stitches to heal wounds.
Her installation explores the cycle of life and death, the impermanence of being and the memory of trauma and experience. Through her work, Mai communicates the deepest of emotions resulting from the scars that mark one’s life, both physically and metaphorically.
The artist uses natural materials that can best portray the cycle of transformation and change that takes place within a human being. Memory, pain and trauma are at the center of her exploration, digging deep into the psyche and uncovering those hidden feelings and emotions that persist and linger on.
From another angle, Mai’s work is centered on the experience of women who go through anger, pain, fear and frustration, and yet patiently and stoically go on with their lives. The show runs until Wednesday at the gallery, 27i Tran Nhat Duat Street in District 1.