~~Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam – Galerie Quynh is pleased to present Chapter 1: Where I attempt to drown the dragon – Sandrine Llouquet’s fourth solo exhibition at the gallery. Alchemy, transformation, discovery and rebirth are recurrent themes in the show represented through highly symbolic images and metaphors. Spanning the gallery’s main exhibition space and its new downtown gallery, the ambitious exhibition is divided into two parts: nigredo (blackness) and albedo (whiteness) in reference to the first two of the four major stages of the Magnum Opus in alchemy. With a nod to Victorian novels, the whimsical exhibition title suggests the beginning of an elaborate journey full of fantasy and drama for our protagonist. References to Jung, archetypes and the collective unconscious abound in the show. The dragon itself refers to personal obstacles and symbolizes the shadow, an archetype that represents the darker side of the human psyche. Llouquet states, “Each of my artworks is a step left behind that shows a building of oneself: wandering, passage from one stage to another, rebellion, escape, rebirth… By pursuing my research on this idea of building oneself, I naturally came to study the history of alchemy and found deep similarities with my conception of art: a quest for wisdom that goes with material experimentations.” Strangely familiar yet indefinable, many of the works in the exhibition have curious titles like Holy Spittle, Head of Tatvamasi, Thunder urn, The Ride of the Cynocephalus, The Dream of a Hydrocephalic Bat, calling to mind invented rituals, children’s games, meditation and science experiments. That pharmaceuticals such as methylene blue and iodine have been used as a medium in some of the drawings reinforces ideas of experimentation and healing. Llouquet will be presenting a major installation on the ground floor of the gallery’s main space as a kind of passage before the next step. Entitled Studiolo Bianca, the work is a steel cage-like room that contains many of the artist’s personal possessions. Referring to the studiolo in the Italian Renaissance – a room for research and meditation – Llouquet’s studiolo is locked and cannot be accessed by viewers. Research materials, books, drawings, photographs and objects Llouquet has collected over the past decade are positioned strategically in the room to reveal/conceal the raw materials that inspire and aid in her quest to drown the dragon.