Exclusive: Trong Gia Nguyen Is the Winner of the 2015 PULSE Prize

The artist was featured at the booth of Milan's mc2gallery.

Trong Gia Nguyen, with his Pulse Prize winning installation

Trong Gia Nguyen is the winner of the 2015 Miami Beach PULSE Prize at PULSE Miami Beach. The artist’s work was the subject of a solo presentation at the booth of Milan’s mc2gallery.

“My work is concerned with structures of power as they relate to the process of looking at art,” the artist explained to artnet News via email. “It’s a wrestling match in which the viewer can never win.”

His unusual installation at PULSE was immediately striking. Its visual centerpiece was a set of wooden saloon doors welcoming visitors into the gallery booth. When closed, a silhouette cut-out in the doors evoked a scene of lynching, with the seam between the panels standing for the rope. Inside the booth itself, a disjointed domestic space full of interactive sculptures was designed to disorient the viewer.

“Despite the wall frame bisecting his booth, I was immediately pulled in and had to know more,” said juror Casey Fremont, executive director of the Art Production Fund, in an e-mail to artnet News. “What I discovered were multidisciplinary works that are thoughtful, sophisticated, and feel entirely contemporary.”

The artist, who splits his time between Brooklyn and Ho Chi Minh City, was selected by a panel of jurors made up of Fremont; Don Baciagalupi, director of the forthcoming Lucas Museum of Narrative Art; Sarah Harrelson, founder and editor-in-chief of Cultured Magazine; and Deborah Willis, chair of the department of photography and imaging at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Nguyen will receive a $2,500 cash prize.

“Nguyen’s work is dazzling because the artist combines an interest in issues of our time, a keen awareness of art and literary history, and a commitment to the virtuosic making of objects. I’ve often said that the greatest works of art must appeal to our eyes, our minds, and our hearts, and Nguyen’s work does all three,” Baciagalupi told artnet News, also via e-mail. 

The other nominees for the 2015 prize were Scott Anderson at CES Gallery, Srijon Chowdhury at Klowden Mann, Richard Garrison at robert henry contemporary, Henry Hudson at TJ Boulting, Ronnie Hughes at Rubicon Projects, Christopher Kochs at Black & White Gallery, Nancy Lorenz at Morgan Lehman, Cristina Córdova at Ferrin Contemporary, Christian Maychack at Gregory Lind Gallery, Nino Mustica at Scaramouche, Helen O’Leary at Lesley Heller Workspace, Mariu Palacios at Cecilia Gonzalez Arte Contemporaneo, Andrew Salgado at Beers Contemporary, Adam Straus at Nohra Haime Gallery, Grace Weaver at Thierry Goldberg Gallery, and Winter/Hörbelt at Galerie Heike Strelow.

PULSE is on view at Indian Beach Park, 4601 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, December 1–6, 2015. 

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