Tran Van Thao


Tran Van Thao (b. 1961, Saigon), one of Vietnam's foremost abstract painters, is recognized for his individual markings, rich colour fields and compositions that convey a sense of harmony and balance through a contemplative atmosphere that invites introspection and mindfulness. For Thao, inspiration comes from the humble yet dynamic experience of everyday life, as well as the immediacy of his surroundings.


Tran Van Thao belongs to an influential group of painters who rose to prominence in the 90s following the 1986 Doi Moi economic reforms. Part of the historic Group of 10 artists that catalysed the process to recognise abstraction as a legitimate genre of the visual arts in Vietnam, Thao was one of the group's most prominent members.


Thao graduated from the Ho Chi Minh University of Fine Arts in 1986, and has since held numerous exhibitions across Asia, Europe, and the U.S. Selected international exhibitions include Out of Context, Huntington Beach Art Center, Huntington Beach, California, USA; Art Festival for World Peace, Seoul Arts Center, Seoul, Korea; ASEAN Art Awards, National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; On the Horizon, Pacific Bridge Contemporary Southeast Asian Art, Oakland, California, USA; L'Anima Soffocata, Museo Biblioteca Archivio, Bassano del Grappa, Italy; Paris, Hanoi, Saigon: The Adventures of Modern Art in Vietnam, Pavillon des Arts, Paris, France; The Finest Collection from Sister Cities, Busan Metropolitan Art Museum, Busan, Korea; Man and Woman, H&S Gallery, Brussels, Belgium, travelled to Paris, Tokyo, San Francisco, Singapore; From the Red River to the Mekong: The New Trend in Vietnamese Art, Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles, Paris, France; A Winding River: The Journey of Contemporary Art in Vietnam, Meridian International Center, Washington, D.C., USA, travelled to various venues in the United States; 11th International Contemporary Asian Art Exhibition, Metropolitan Museum of Manila, Philippines; Vietnamese Art After Doi Moi, Fujita Vente Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan; 10th International Contemporary Asian Art Exhibition, National Museum Art Gallery, Singapore; and Contemporary Vietnamese Art Exhibition, Tropical Museum, The Hague, Holland. In 2001 he was the recipient of the Asian Cultural Council's Starr Foundation Fellowship and spent four months as an artist-in-residence in New York.


Thao is currently based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.