Anh Duong exhibition, Sonnabend Gallery, New York
A diary may be the tried-and-tested outlet for venting one’s troubles, but the written word is not for artist Anh Duong. ’If a single line could say everything, I would like to stop there,’ she says. Instead, she turns to the canvas, and her own image becomes her prose. ’It’s the best landscape I have found so far,’ she explains. The result is an emotionally loaded collection of self-portraits that lets the viewer into her thoughts.
For her exhibition at New York’s Sonnabend Gallery, the French-born model, actress and portraitist has picked out 15 works. Appearing in a variety of poses and carefully chosen outfits (or even naked at times), Duong leaves no psychological stone unturned, presenting herself with a blank expression that lets her personal narrative be told through her eyes.
’In my opinion a portrait is more than a mere fixation of the memory,’ says Duong. ’I consider it as a dialectical game with the mirror image, which I analyse and deal with in a pictorial manner. Every work of an artist is a self-portrait. I am just more conscious of that process than most. The subject matter disappears through repetition.’
Duong’s instinctual portrait-making process takes anything from a day, to up to a year to complete. ’I would sometimes have a dream and then wake up wanting to paint what I saw that night,’ she reveals about this cathartic process. ’I would trust to follow it. The meaning of that image will come to me later once or during the painting is complete. Or sometimes years later.’