UuDam Tran Nguyen

A rare pioneer of Vietnamese Contemporary Art, UuDam's risk-taking and brilliant art practice is unique in today's contemporary art scene. He is taking many art forms to a new level by pushing the boundaries of all the mediums he touches: video, sound, sculpture, installation, performance, photography, sculpture, technology, new media, and app art to understand the bigger questions of life.

Born in 1971, during the Cold War and before the Unification of the two North and South Vietnam in 1975. While his mom is nurse, UuDam grew up in an artistic family where artist father, Rừng, a well-known painter, writer, and poet, was his first artistic inspiration. Innitially he chose painting but later decided to persue sculputure. UuDam briefly attended the University of Fine Art in HCMC (Saigon), where he studied with his Vietnamese Russian-trained teachers. Later, he graduated with a B.A. from UCLA in 2001 and received his MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 2005. While in the U.S., he studied with important American artists such as Charles Ray, Paul McCarthy, Sarah Sze, Bill Viola & the Pulitzer-winning art critic Jerry Saltz.

UuDam created huge-scaled art installations using hundreds of motorcycle exhausts to pump inflatable sculptures atop a 64-story tall tower. He successfully summed up the image of the world's contemporary citizens in the iconic images of Contemporary Saint Giongs, a combination of the old Vietnamese myth Saint Giongs, European Saint George the Dragon Slayer, and 21st-century social realities. His famous two video sequence, Waltz of the Machine Equestrians and Serpents' Tails, weaves the rapid development of Vietnam with the world's ancient myths to show how much more intimately we are all linked together on this planet than we often think, the consequences of our actions and the way out.

His Fuck Buttons project has received praise from Time Out New York by Howard Hale and went on to be exhibited at many galleries in Los Angeles and New York from 2005, proving very relevant until now. The project could be an excellent remedy for our time in a climate of extreme politics and ideology.

UuDam also created the world's first crowd-sourcing L2D app art, License 2 Draw enabling people to draw on canvases ten thousand kilometers away. The final product is abstract drawings carried out by "contributors" from all over the world. With this system, people can draw using his L2D User Interface to command his L2D robots from their phones.

UuDam takes traditional sculpture to a new level in his ongoing epic Time Boomerang Project. He creates new forms of global travel-sculpture-performance art. By sea and air travel, he has been launching his five bronze fingertips into five oceans of different continents. With this new work, UuDam wishes to elevate his regional South China Sea conflicts onto a vast scale and space where mediative talks can occur without impassioned fistfights fueled by heated nationalism. His ongoing ambitious 8-phased Time Boomerang project expands on South East Asia's current geopolitical situation millions of years into the past and future.

On August 2019, UuDam completed 15 days of travel across the Pacific Ocean on France's second-biggest freighter, CMA CGM A. LINCOLN, from Asia (China) to the U.S. (Los Angeles) for the TIME BOOMERANG project. Following that disembarkation, on the 17th of September, from a catamaran sailboat, he launched the 3rd bronze fingertips into California's Pacific coast, completing another essential step of Time Boomerang’s Phase #2: The New Conqueror with a Good Passport. Having completed his "conquering" of Europe, Australia, and the Americas performances, his future destinations for "Time Boomerang's" next two fingertips will be Africa & Antarctica.

UuDam exhibited and lectured at many major international art venues including the Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art (France), Yokohama Museum of Art (Japan), the High Line Art (NYC), Aichi Triennale (Aichi Art Center), Queensland Museum of Contemporary Art (Australia), Bildmuseet Museum (Sweden), the Asia Pacific Triennial 8th (Australia), OnSite Art Fest (Taipei), Art Stage Singapore 2016, Kadist (San Francisco) and the Jewish Museum (New York), Rhode Island School of Design Museum (USA), Singapore Biennale 2013 (National Museum of Singapore), Center for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, NTU CCA (Singapore), SUNSHOWER (Mori Art Museum), Kuandu Fine Art Museum (Taipei), Esplanade Visual Arts (Singapore), Shanghai Biennale 2018 (Power Station of Art), Kaohsiung Fine Art Museum (Taiwan), University of Colorado Boulder (2018), Orange County Museum of Art (USA) and San Jose Art Museum (USA), Galerie Quynh (HCM) in 2019, Te Papa Museum (New Zealand), Motplus Art Space (HCM), A FARM (HCM), Rục Rà Rục Dich, TOONG's nation-wide traveling exhibition, the Phúc Tân Public Art Project (Hà Nội), ASIA CULTURE CENTER (S. Korea), VIETNAM DESIGN WEEK 2020, ICISE (Vietnam), Asia Art Biennal 2021(Taiwan), Nguyen Art Foundation (2022), Fullbright University VietNam (2023), Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Keynote speaker +Artist 2022, 2023), Inter-Parlementary Union speaker at ICISE (Quy Nhơn), Dalseong Daegu Contemporay Art Festival 2023 (South Korea).

His works have been mentioned and reviewed in top art magazines: Art Forum, Flash Art, Brooklyn Rail, Hyperallergic, Vietnam News, Blouin Art Info, The New York Times, Singapore Today Top Pick, Saigoneer, Los Angeles Times, Phnom Penh Post, Vietnam National VTV, HTV, Korean T.V. and Newspaper, Art Radar Journal, LA Weekly, Time Out New York, Arttribune.com (Italy), Zing.vn, Orange County Weekly, The Dot Magazine, Art Monthly London, Japan Times, Degree Critical (NYC), Brooklyn Rail, Cobo Social, Art Radar Journal, Yicai Shanghai, Heritage In-flight Mag, Phu Nu weekend, After Image (vol 47), The Thao Van Hoa, Tuổi Trẻ weekend, & Forbes VN, Vietcetera, Dantri news, Art Republik, Elle Decoration, etc.

UuDam won the Jury Selection Prize of the prestigious Japan Media Art Festival 2015 with his License 2 Draw project. With the Public Phuc Tan Art Project, he won the respected Bùi Xuân Phái Art Prize 2020. He also received the THE BEST CONCEPTUAL ART PRIZE with ECO-Đi, an artwork crossing 6 disciplines conceptual art/product/sculpture/performance/intervention/advertising from Vietnam Design Week 2020.

UuDam is also a cofounder of the collective XEM artist book.

UuDam bases in Sài Gòn, HCMC, Việt Nam.