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macro - stuffed - supper

Image credit: Andre Castellucci

Power Play
by Eugenia Flynn

In its purest form, art as power begins with the ability of art to reflect both our individual and collective selves, to explore and to interrogate through that reflection, and to leave the viewer irrevocably changed. However, explorations of power through art also remind us of the flawed nature of such phenomena as power imbalance and power structure.


In macro-stuffed-supper Truc Truong brings forth such discussions of power, across many of its various forms. Here play and playfulness become the material realisation to explorations of power that are complex and multilayered. Non-Vietnamese viewers, especially White/Western/European audiences, are presented with soft toys, slowly spinning and burning atop a large table – a rotisserie to be eaten by other soft toys. In this way, Truong uses play, colour, and movement to create a disarming sense of mischievousness that belies a more serious critique of maximalist capitalism, narcissism, colonisation, truth telling, life and death, time and reality, religion as part of imperialism, classism, and more.


Importantly, Vietnamese viewers of macro-stuffed-supper are afforded an aesthetic that draws upon the everyday of Vietnamese life, whether within Vietnam itself or among the Vietnamese diaspora across Australia and the world. Truong’s use of these everyday objects within a staged and playful tableau provides Vietnamese audiences with the opportunity for introspective interrogation. With the soft toy rotisserie spinning above a bed of burning incense, similar to an ancestral altar, Truong’s most serious critique of the role of religion within colonisation and imperialism is amplified to expose such issues as internalised racism and classism. Truong is able to bring into sharp focus multilayered critiques of the way in which power manifests to become imbalanced and weighted through systems, institutions and structures, all to favour the privileged few. Truths related to colonisation’s impact on such matters as religion, time and reality, food culture, skin colour and more are uncomfortably amplified through the juxtaposition of Vietnamese religious objects with soft toys and the sass of play. 


Due to its aesthetics viewers may initially consider macro-stuffed-supper to be fun and playful only, missing the exploration of more serious themes. White/Western/European viewers may even view macro-stuffed-supper as exotic, different, or ‘multicultural’, given the exhibition’s use of everyday objects from Vietnamese life. However, Truong draws in viewers of macro-stuffed-supper through the work’s lively aesthetic to critique the many racist and classist power structures that exist throughout the world. In this way, it is Truong who demonstrates power through macro-stuffed-supper in what becomes the ultimate power play. 

macro-stuffed-supper (detail), 2022, pig

Chop suey,

Generously supported by

Post Office Projects Gallery

Arts SA

Helpmann Academy

Phuong Ngo

Truong family

Thomas Burford

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