Brief CV
Richard STREITMATTER-TRAN (b. 1972, Bien Hoa, Vietnam) is an artist living and working in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He received his degree in the Studio for Interrelated Media (SIM) at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. His solo and collaborative work has been exhibited internatonally including Kandada Art Space in Tokyo, 10 Chancery Lane Gallery in Hong Kong, the Singapore Biennale (2008/2006), Ke Center for Contemporary Art in Shanghai (2008), Singapore Art Museum (SAM), Eslite Gallery in Taiwan, 52nd Venice Biennale (2007), Shenzhen and Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale (2007), Thermocline of Art: New Asian Waves at ZKM in Karlsruhe, Germany, Asia Art Now at Arario Beijing, 1st Pocheon Asian Art Festival, Gwangju Biennale (2004), the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin, Chula Art Center in Bangkok, the Asiatopia Performance Art Festival, and Art Tech Media 06 in Barcelona. In 2011, exhibitions include The Singapore Art Museum/Centre Pompidou video exhibition at SAM, The Asia Triennial in Manchester and the 4th Guangzhou Triennale. He was an arts correspondent for the Madrid-based magazine Art.Es and and Ho Chi Minh City editor for Contemporary and has published in several catalogs and periodicals. In 2005 he received the Martell Contemporary Asian Art Research Grant from the Asia Art Archive in Hong Kong for his year-long research project, Mediating the Mekong. He was Teaching Assistant at Harvard University (2000-2004), conducted media arts research at the MIT Media Lab (2000) and a visiting lecturer at the Ho Chi Minh Fine Arts University in 2003. He was an advisor to the Para/Site Curatorial Programme in Hong Kong. He is currently a lecturer at RMIT International University Vietnam. Upon relocating to Vietnam in 2003, he helped form ProjectOne, a Ho Chi Minh City-based performance art group now defunct. Two years later he became a founding member of Mogas Station, a group of international creators (artists and architects) based in Ho Chi Minh City, working to promote and present contemporary art in Vietnam. Its members came together in 2005 to create Ạart, the very first artist initiated bilingual contemporary arts magazine in Vietnam launched at the Singapore Biennale 2006. Their second major work, Rokovoko, premiered at the 52nd Venice Biennale as an official collateral event with Migration Addicts project. For the Singapore Biennale 2008, he collaborated with Burmese artist Chaw Ei Thein to create September Sweetness, an life-sized pagoda constructed entirely from 6 tons of sugar that slowly eroded throughout the life of the exhibition. As co-curator he developed The Mekong exhibition with Russell Storer of the Queensland Art Gallery for the 6th Asia Pacific Triennale (APT6) in 2009. In 2010, he established DIA/PROJECTS, a contemporary art experiment and studio space in Ho Chi Minh City. Activities include speculative investigations into contemporary cultures of science, theory and art. International collaborations include CIANT (Prague), The Asia Art Archive (Hong Kong), The Japan Foundation and The Japan Society. In its two years, dia/projects hosted two researchers-in-residence from Bangkok, New York and Manila.
Curatorial Statement
Dia/Projects was formed primarily to be a discursive space that would facilitate investigations through arts research. While also functioning as the artists studio, research directed toward individual production also extends into larger projects, some that we feel may be more aligned to the curatorial. At the start of the space in 2010, VUI (Vietnam Urban Issues) was established to examine the human, material and ecological relationship of a rapidly developing Vietnam. Recently, the persona of VILE/RATS emerged as a series of probes into philosophy, sciences, culture and history, influenced by some of the leading personalities within what is referred to as the Speculative Realism movement. One project that we are working on is Medium Rare, currently a linkage between China’s control of the rare earths commodity, deep geological time, political and biological politics, and the metaphor of the strata. Preliminary investigations will be presented in September 2011 at the Asia Triennale Manchester in the UK. I would also like to connect with the larger network at Synapse to better understand how better to realize research into solid curatorial platforms.
Projects realized (Selection)
2009. The Mekong. 6th Asia Pacific Triennial. Queensland Art Gallery/GoMA. Brisbane, Australia. I’’ve only realized one curatorial project to date. In 2009, I was co-curated a special platform, The Mekong, with curator Russell Storer of the Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane, Australia, as a part of the Sixth Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art. As a curatorial team we were keen on looking at artists and practices working in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Myanmar. Two observations in particular emerged that we believed warranted further examination: The pairing of contemporary social issues with traditional materials and methods, and secondly the changing practice of photographic media. In all, we chose seven artists spanning work in ceramics, video, painting, photography and sculpture and ranging in age from the twenties to the seventies. Curatorially, this exhibition was a part of a longer trajectory that began in 2005, where I received the Contemporary Asian Art Research Grant from the Asia Art Archive in Hong Kong to do an initial investigation into arts practices and their relation to civil society and national economies in the Mekong subregion. I had relocated to Vietnam from Boston only two years earlier after art school and was quite green. The grant allowed me to realize two important things: the importance of developing a strong network early, and secondly, how formative the relationship between research and the arts production would be to my own practice. Both of these lessons, I suppose, have defined my approach to work since and have without a doubt brought me to Synapse, where these investigations and probes may continue. In July 2012, I presented recent research and projects at the conference, "No Ground Underneath: Curating On the Nexus of Changes" at the Guangdong Times Museum.