b. 1960, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tran Luong was born in 1960 in Hanoi, Vietnam. He graduated from the Hanoi University of Fine Arts in 1983 and later formed a collective with fellow painting graduates that became known as the Gang of Five and was responsible for leading the development of contemporary art in Vietnam. From 1990 to 1996, the Gang of Five mounted major exhibitions in Hanoi (twice), Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), London, and Hong Kong, and participated in several international group exhibitions. Previously, they had organized monthly exhibitions in each other’s homes in response to otherwise limited opportunity. Tran has played a critical role in generating support for artists in Vietnam. In 1998 he co-founded Nha San Studio (also known as Nha San Duc), Hanoi’s leading alternative art space, and curated the majority of the exhibitions during its first four years of operation. He co-founded the Hanoi Contemporary Art Centre in 2000, serving as its Director until 2003. His acrimonious resignation was an act of protest against government corruption in the administration of arts funding.
In 2001, Tran invited ten artists to collaborate on the Mao Khe Art Project. They traveled from Hanoi to the northern mining town of Mao Khe to conduct workshops, make art (chiefly performance and video), and engage with the local community. In addition to the performance Steam Rice Man (2001), Tran made the documentary video Mao Khe Coal Mine Project (2001). A summary exhibition was presented at Hanoi Contemporary Art Centre in 2002, and the project was featured in the 2009 Havana Biennial, among other international exhibitions. A 10th anniversary commemoration reconvened the group, who recounted their activities in Mao Khe and presented documentation at Factory Bar in Hanoi (2011). Also in 2001, Tran organized the collaborative outdoor site-specific and performance art project On the Banks of Red River, presenting works in the most impoverished area of Hanoi. His own contributions involved wrapping defunct machinery with skeins of nylon cord in a web-like mesh as a ceremonial form of protection, and setting up mosquito-net playrooms for local homeless children.
In 2004, Tran organized Lim Dim, an international performance art event in Hanoi. (He curated an exhibition with the same title, featuring 16 contemporary artists from Vietnam, for the Stenersen Museum, Oslo, in 2009.) He has participated in numerous performance art festivals including Future of Imagination, Singapore (2006 and 2012), UP-ON, International Live Art Festival, Chengdu, China (2008), Beyond Pressure, International Performance Art Festival, Yangon, Myanmar (2008), Global Warming! Global Warning!!, Perfurbance #4, Mount Merapi, Indonesia (2008), and Guangzhou Live, China (2010).
Tran has been the subject of solo exhibitions and has staged solo performances at Tokyo Gallery (1997); Nha San Studio, Hanoi (1998, 2000, and 2010); Art in General, New York (1999) Robert F. Brush Art Gallery, St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York (2000); Cave Gallery, Brooklyn (2003); and Goethe Institut, Hanoi (2004). He is a member of the curatorial team for the 2013 Singapore Biennial, and has participated in notable group exhibitions including Imagined Workshop, Fukuoka Asian Art Triennial, Japan (2002); Post-Doi Moi: Vietnamese Art After 1990, Singapore Art Museum (2008); Inward Gazes: Performance Art in Asia, Macau Museum of Art (2008); Strategies from Within: Vietnamese and Cambodian Contemporary Art, Ke Center, Shanghai (2008); and Negotiating Home, History and Nation: Two Decades of Contemporary Art in Southeast Asia 1991–2011, Singapore Art Museum (2011). Tran lives and works in Hanoi.