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Une place au soleil (A Place in the Sun) - Exhibition at La Grande Place, Musée du cristal Saint Louis

Thu-Van Tran

From Thursday 12 July to Monday 4 February 2019

This solo exhibition by the artist Thu-Van Tran at La Grande Place Musée du Cristal Saint-Louis, in Saint-Louis-lès-Bitche (Moselle, France) is produced by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès. It forms part of the Foundation’s continuing support for temporary exhibitions at the its own art spaces (in Brussels, Singapore, Seoul and Tokyo) and in collaboration with national art institutions (“Formes simples” at the Centre Pompidou-Metz, “L’Esprit du Bauhaus” at the MAD, Paris). 

Each year, the Foundation presents two exhibitions of contemporary art at Saint-Louis, with a focus on artisanship and/or skilled expertise. Each season of three monographic or themed exhibitions is co-produced with a leading cultural institution in the Lorraine region, in association with the Cristallerie Saint-Louis and La Grande Place Musée du Cristal Saint-Louis.

Following the inaugural and follow-up seasons, in partnership with the Centre Pompidou-Metz and 49 Nord 6 Est – Frac Lorraine (Metz), the Foundation has invited the Moselle-based contemporary arts centre La Synagogue de Delme to devise the third cycle of exhibitions.Under the title “L’héritage des secrets” (“The Heritage of Secrets”) Marie Cozette, director of La Synagogue de Delme, has devised a series of three exhibitions exploring the historical, architectural, aesthetic, technical and human facets of the crystal workshops, over their 400-year existence.

Marie Cozette says: “The guest artists for the series — art duo Hippolyte Hentgen, Thu-Van Tran, and Dominique Ghesquière — have immersed themselves in the unique world of the Cristallerie, to create new works that seek to diffract meaning, just as crystal diffracts the light. “For her solo exhibition at La Grande Place Musée du Cristal Saint-Louis, Thu-Van Tran has initiated a new series of rubberwood sculptures, each incorporating a (defective) crystal object initially destined for the scrapheap. The resulting works mingle two unique materials, each with its own distinctive story. […] These sculptures, which are presented in glass cases, are also the basis for a series of photograms. Inspired by the silent gathering of a community of women that the artist witnessed in Hong Kong during a recent trip to Asia, the images are imbued with powerful, poetic message of resistance.”




“ Thu-Van Tran was born in Ho Chi Minh City in 1979 and came to France with her family in 1981. Her identity is defined by two geographically and culturally distant horizons, connected by the twists and reversals of history. Her work explores the meanders of the intimate and collective memory, and enshrines her own genealogy in a wider historical and symbolic perspective. Her sculptures, photographs, films and installations embody a poetic sense of distance and displacement.

For her solo exhibition at La Grande Place Musée du Cristal Saint-Louis, Thu-Van Tran has initiated a new series of rubberwood sculptures, each incorporating a (defective) crystal object initially destined for the scrapheap. The resulting works mingle two unique materials, each with its own distinctive story. Imported from Indochina in the 1920s, rubberwood is cultivated intensively for the rubber industry. Rubber saplings are grown as grafts on a host plant, and the wood’s appearance is modified by its environment. This process of ‘reciprocal contamination’ is central to Thu-Van Tran’s work, in which materials and objects stain one another, flow, ‘weep’, and sometimes leave traces of their presence.

Traces of presence are also central to the photograms produced by the artist for the exhibition, using the rubberwood and crystal sculptures that are displayed in glass cases. The imprint of the objects and bodies placed on the light-sensitive paper becomes a fully-fledged figurative mode, a kind of ‘representation in reverse’, in which absence becomes the matrix for other potential narratives. The series of photograms is inspired by the silent gathering of a community of women, witnessed by the artist on the streets of Hong Kong on a recent trip to Asia. On Sundays, women domestic workers spend the day sitting on the ground together on the footbridge linking the city’s central business district to the harbour, invading this crossing as a stationary mass. Their powerful presence, occupying the public space, is in direct contrast to their fragile social and economic status. Far from being a burden on society, these women are the fabric that holds it together, supported by the solidarity of their own community. Thu-Van Tran captures these disparate symbolic, social, historic and technical elements to create a powerful, poetic message of resistance.”

Marie Cozette



Rue Coëtlosquet 57620 Saint-Louis-lès-Bitche
Open to the public from July 12, 2018 to January 9, 2019.
Daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., except Tuesday.
Free admission with a valid museum ticket (tarifs: 6€, 3€), or with a combined ticket for the museum and the Manufacture de Saint-Louis (tarifs: 17€, 10€)
Information: +33 3 87 06 40 04 or

Thu-Van Tran was born in 1979 in Ho Chi Minh City, in Vietnam. She lives and works in Paris.

She has presented solo exhibitions at Ladera Oeste (Guadalajara, Mexico), the n.b.k. Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (Berlin, Germany), the Macleay Museum in Sydney (Australia),
the Musée des Abattoirs (Toulouse, France), and La Maison Rouge (Paris, France). 

Her work has been shown at the Moderna Museet (Stockholm, Sweden), the Art Sonje Center (Seoul, South Korea), the Vehbi Koç Foundation (Istanbul, Turkey), the Edition Block (Berlin), the Plateau-FRAC Île-de-France (Paris) and the Crédac (Ivry-sur-Seine, France), where she is also planning a solo exhibition for spring 2019. She is a nominee for the Prix Marcel Duchamp 2018, for which her work appears at the Centre Pompidou in the same year. She took part in the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017, curated by Christine Macel. In 2014, she co-curated the exhibition “Duras Song”, with Jean-Max Colard, dedicated to the work and archives of Marguerite Duras. The exhibition was held at the Bibliothèque Publique d’Information (BPI), at the Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris).

Thu-Van Tran is represented by the Meessen De Clercq gallery (Brussels, Belgium), and is currently preparing her first solo show at the Rüdiger Schöttle gallery (Munich, Germany).