de Sarthe recently opened their new show; its second solo exhibition for the Vietnam-based contemporary artist Richard Streitmatter-Tran, titled, We No Longer See the Stars. Featuring a new series of paintings, sculptures, and interactive installations, the exhibition stages a commentary on the global tension and social unrest consequent to ongoing disputes across the world. We No Longer See the Stars opens on 18 January and runs through 7 March 2020.
In Bless the Beasts and the Children (2019-20), freestanding portraits of people of various ethnicities dressed in black are propped throughout the gallery. As visitors weave through the space, they are forced to confront the unwavering gaze of the painted subjects. Titled after the 1971 film, in which a group of youth struggle in a pyrrhic battle against preordained defeat, the series speaks to the universal tenacity of human will in the face of conflict. Positioned in a front-facing formation, the figures stand in a field of echoed silence.
Installation view of We No Longer See the Stars
Richard Streitmatter-Tran, Six-screen installation, mac computer, light, desk, chair, hat, Dimensions variable
A six-screen installation is centered on the wall behind the standing portraits, in which visitors see a live video feed of themselves moving through the gallery. The interactive installation Face Off (2015-2019) utilizes facial recognition software that perpetually scans for faces, emulating the omnipresent surveillance technologies employed by the public and private sectors. As if stumbling onto unknown footage of oneself, the installation forces the alarming realization that we are constantly under observation, with our identities perpetually digitized, and transformed into two-dimensional portraiture with the rest of the paintings in the space.
Richard Streitmatter-Tran, Constellations, 2019, Acrylic on canvas, LED light, 120 x 90 cm each
In Constellations (2019), Streitmatter-Tran juxtaposes facial pattern recognition matrices with the lattices of I.M. Pei’s iconic Bank of China building in Hong Kong - an immediately recognizable piece of architecture within the city. By drawing connections between the visual similarities of structures and systems, the artist elucidates how the physical attributes of our surrounding environment relate to architectures of surveillance and power.
Richard Streitmatter-Tran was born in 1972 in Bien Hoa, Vietnam. He received his degree in the Studio for Interrelated Media (SIM) at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. For the first decade of his career Richard's artwork could be described as strictly conceptual, but after 2013 he began to focus on producing artwork that required a meticulous level of fine craftsmanship. As a result, his current body of work is both rooted in the conceptual rigor of contemporary art theory and the skills behind traditional techniques.
Exhibition on from January 18th to March 7th, 2020
All images courtesy of de Sarthe Gallery, Hong Kong.
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