Tropicana Migration is the new solo exhibition of renowned Vietnamese artist Dinh Q. Lê at 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, presenting a major new installation, photoweavings and video works.
Dinh Q. Lê (b. 1968, Vietnam) is a Vietnamese American fine arts photographer, best known for his woven-photographs. His artwork includes installation, video, sculpture, and urban intervention.
Vietnamese conceptual artist. Lê was born near the Cambodian border, but fled with his family when his hometown was invaded by the Khmer Rouge in 1979. Lê moved to Los Angeles and studied photography at the University of California, Santa Barbara and received his MFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York in 1992.
Growing up in Vietnam, Lê watched his aunt weave grass mats. As an art student in southern California, Lê used these memories of weaving as a metaphor for his hybridized identity.
The desire to intervene in dominant perceptions of the Vietnam War propelled Lê for much of his artistic career.
Lê returned to Vietnam and travelled to Cambodia in 1994, visiting both Angkor Wat and the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, located on the site of the brutal Khmer Rouge execution centre. Shocked by the contrast between the county’s beautiful temples and the horrific cruelty of Tuol Sleng, Lê began work on Cambodia: Splendor and Darkness (1994–9), a series of photo-weavings that blend images of the temples’ elaborate carvings with the haunting photographs taken by the Khmer Rouge of their victims.
Trying to raise public awareness about the residual effects of Agent Orange in Vietnam, Lê organized Damaged Gene (1998), a temporary public art project in Ho Chi Minh City’s central market. The project comprised a small shop selling evidence of atrocity, such as specially produced clothing and pacifiers for conjoined twins and T-shirts informing people about the dangers of Dioxin.
Lê later returned to the photographs taken at Tuol Sleng and created The Texture of Memory, a series of approximately 20 large white panels embroidered with the faces of the prisoners. Stitched in a specially treated white thread, the faces are meant to be touched by viewers, slowly darkening through this interaction.
In his series From Vietnam to Hollywood (2003), Lê contrasted photojournalistic images of the Vietnam War and its Hollywood depiction. Deploying his photo-weaving technique, Lê fused together iconic images of the war, from found and personal photographs, and film stills to create large-scale works (e.g. 2004; New York, PPOW Gal.). The series makes viewers aware of how their ideas about the war have been shaped by Hollywood depictions. In 2003, six works from this series were included in the 50th Venice Biennale.
Among his recent solo exhibitions there are: Warp, Woof, Zero, One, P·P·O·W, New York (2014); Crossing the Farther Shore, Rice University Art Gallery, Houston (2014); Erasure, Chancery Lane Art Gallery Projects, Hong Kong (2012); Remnants Ruins, Civilization, and Empire, Soshana Wayne Gallery, Santa Monica CA (2012); Dinh Q Lê: Saigon Diary, University of Buffalo Anderson Gallery, Buffalo, NY
Erasure, Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Sydney, Austrailia (2011); Dinh Q. Lê, Prince Claus Fund Gallery, Amsterdam, Netherlands (2011); South China Sea Pishkun, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, United Kingdom (2011).