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 was formed in 2012 as a response to the mutual difficulty in working collaboratively and inter-disciplinary in Vietnam. From its inception, Art Labor has worked 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 the boundaries of art, in term of exhibition forms, exhibition venues, artist’ role, curating limit, value and appreciation of art in society.
As Director and Curator of Post Vidai and a member of the collective Art Labor collective, Arlette Quỳnh-Anh Trần has also participated in various cultural and visual art projects as coordinator, curator, researcher or advisor. Her curatorial practice aims to go beyond mere aesthetic value of art and considers art as a catalyst, which uses visual language to interpret, question, and narrate multiple spheres of life and disciplines. She focuses on collaborative labour between visual art and other disciplines, from natural and social sciences to business, design and fashion. Arlette has contributed her research, writing and thoughts to various local and international publications, exhibitions and projects, including the ‘Istanbul Biennale’ 2015; ‘Hugo Boss Asia Award’ 2015; 2084 (2012) with Pelin Tan and Anton Vidokle; ‘Digitizing the Archival Materials of Blue Space Contemporary Arts Centre’, for Asia Art Archive; ‘World Biennale Forum No. 1’, Kwangju, Korea; ‘synapse – International Curator Network’, HKW, Berlin; and numerous solo and group shows for young emerging artists in the region.
Truong Cong Tung was born in Dak Lak, Vietnam, Tung currently lives and works in Ho Chi Minh City. Graduated from the Ho Chi Minh Fine Arts University in 2010 with a degree in Lacquer Painting. His works are a combination of video, installation, painting, and found objects that reflects his personal thoughts, social changes and the issue of race, religion and politics. Tung had shown in places such as San Art, Nha San Collective, SeMA biennale, Seoul Museum of Art, Korea and Koganecho Bazzar, Yokohama, Japan.
Through literature, philosophy and daily life, Phan Tháo-Nguyên, observes ambiguous issues in social convention, history and tradition. An honor 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.