For Nguyen Thai Tuan (born in 1965 in QUANG TRI (Vietnam), died in 2023), space and its objects, the relationship between body and matter, is of unquestionable importance.
Nguyen Thai Tuan was an adept oil painter whose life-long passion for the brush has offered constant solace from the dark memories that creep into his everyday life. This consciousness is deeply affected by the ravages of war he directly witnessed growing up in a poor village in Quang Tri, Vietnam.
"Nguyen Thai Tuan’s Black Paintings are portraits in which the human person is absent. The face which tells us about a person’s individuality and humanity is blank. The face is blacked out as if their individuality is censored or repressed. In this portrait series people are depicted as types. All that we know about them is their role, they are men or women of Vietnam, they are Buddhist monks or prisoners, they are gaudy brides of foreigners, or they are an old person who has lost their memory. The Black Paintings of Nguyen Thai Tuan challenge conventional imagery of identity and memory as transparent, by the erasure of the personae, the figures are reduced to puppets or ghosts, mindless actors in a theatrical charade of roles acceptable to the state." (Annette Van Den Bosch)