UuDam Tran Nguyen
A rare pioneer of Vietnamese Contemporary Art, UuDam’s risk-taking and brilliant art practice is very unique in the contemporary art scene today. He is taking many art forms to a new level by pushing the boundaries of all the medium he touches upon: video, sound scupture installation, performance, photography, sculpture, technology, new media and app art in an effort to understand the big questions of life. UuDam studied with sculptor Russian-trained teachers in Vietnam and American Academy artist Charles Ray, as well as Paul McCarthy, Sarah Sze, Bill Viola & the Pulitzer-winning art critic Jerry Saltz, etc.
UuDam created huge-scaled art installations using hundreds of motorcycles’ exhaust to pump inflatable sculptures on top of 64 storied tall tower. He successfully summed up the image of world contemporary citizens in the iconic images of Contemporary Saint Giongs, a combination of Vietnamese old myth Saint Giongs and Saint George the Dragon Slayer with 21st century social realities. His famous two videos sequence “Waltz of the Machine Equestrians” and “Serpents’ Tails” weave the rapid development of Vietnam with world’s ancient myths to show how much more intimate we are all linked together on this planet than we often think.
His Fuck Buttons project has received praises from Time Out New York by Howard Hale and went on to exhibited at many galleries in Los Angeles and New York from 2005 and proved to be very relevant until now. In a climate of extreme politics and ideology, this is could be a very good remedy for our time.
He also created the world’s first crowd-sourcing L2D app art “License 2 Draw” that enables people to draw on canvases located ten thousands of kilometers away from them. The final product is beautiful drawings carried out by “contributors” or one invited artist from all over the world. With the system he created, people can draw using their phones, his L2D User Interface and his L2D robots.
In his on-going epic “Time Boomerang” project, UuDam takes traditional sculpture to a new level. He creates a new form of global travel-sculpture-performances art. By sea and air, he has been dropping five bronze fingertips in 5 oceans of different continents. With this new art form, UuDam wished to elevate his regional South China Sea conflicts onto a vast scale and space where meditative talks can take place without impassioned fistfights fueled by heated nationalism. His ambitious 8-phased “Time Boomerang” project expands on South East Asia's current geopolitics situation millions of years into the past and future.
Last August, UuDam completed a 15 days traveling across the Pacific Ocean on the world's second biggest French freighter CMA CGM A. LINCOLN from Asia (China) to America (Los Angeles). Following his disembarkation, on the 17th of Sept, from a Catamaran sailboat, he launched the 3rd bronze fingertips into California Pacific Coast, completing another important step of Phase #2 of “Time Boomerang”: America Performance. Having completed Europe, Australia and America performances, his future stops for “Time Boomerang”s next 2 fingertips are Africa & Antarctica.
Born in Kontum (Vietnam) in 1971, UuDam briefly attended University of Fine Art in HCMC (Saigon). He graduated from UCLA in 2001 and received his MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 2005.
UuDam exhibited and lectured at many important art venues in the world including the Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art (France), Yokohama Museum of Art (Japan), the High Line Art (NYC), Aichi Triennale (Aichi Art Center), Queensland Museum of Contemporary Art (Australia), Bildmuseet Museum (Sweden), the Asia Pacific Triennial 8th (Australia), OnSite Art Fest (Taipei), Art Stage Singapore 2016, Kadist San Francisco, the Jewish Museum (New York), Rhode Island School of Design Museum (USA), Singapore Biennale 2013 (National Museum of Singapore), Center for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, NTU CCA (Singapore), SUNSHOWER (Mori Art Museum), Kuandu Fine Art Museum (Taipei), Esplanade Visual Arts (Singapore), Shanghai Biennale 2018 (Power Station of Art), Kaohsiung Fine Art Museum (Taiwan), Orange County Museum of Art (USA) and San Jose Art Museum (USA), Galerie Quynh (HCM) in 2019, Te Papa Museum (New Zealand), Motplus Art Space (HCM), A FARM (HCM), Rục Rà Rục Dich TOONG's nation-wide traveling exhibition, the Phúc Tân Public Art Project (Hà Nội), ARCAN, ASIA CULTURE CENTER (S. Korea), VIETNAM DESIGN WEEK 2020, ICISE (Vietnam), Asia Art Biennal 2021(Taiwan) and Nguyen Art Foundation (2022).
His works has been mentioned and reviewed in top art magazines: Art Forum, Flash Art, Brooklyn Rail, Hyperallergic, Vietnam News, Blouin Art Info, The New York Times, Singapore Today Top Pick, Saigoneer, Los Angeles Times, Phnom Penh Post, Vietnam National VTV, HTV, Korean TV and Newspapaper, Art Radar Journal, LA weekly, Time Out New York, Arttribune.com (Italy), Zing.vn, Orange County Weekly, The Dot Magazine, Art Monthly London, Japan Times, Degree Critical (NYC), Brooklyn Rail, Cobo Social, Art Radar Journal, Yicai Shanghai, Heritage In-flight Mag, Phu Nu weekend, The Thao Van Hoa, Tuổi Trẻ weekend, & Forbes VN, Vietcetera, Dantri news, Art Republik, Elle Decoration, etc.
UuDam won the Jury Selection Prize of the prestigious Japan Media Art Festival 2015 with his License 2 Draw project. With the Public Phuc Tan Art Project, he won the respected Bùi Xuân Phái Art Prize 2020. He went on to win THE BEST CONCEPTUAL ART PRIZE with ECO-Đi, a new product/sculpture/performative artwork from Vietnam Design Week 2020
UuDam is also a cofounder of the collective XEM artist book in Saigon (HCMC).