Monuments and Memorials is a new series of large-scale photo weavings by Dinh Q. Lê that reflects on collective memory and architectural commemoration. Lê’s evocative photographic artworks combine interior and exterior pictures of Cambodian sites and pair the seemingly unresolvable, competing narratives of a country’s past and present.
Interlaced vertical and horizontal strips of documentary photographs juxtapose grandiose ancient Angkor temples with sparse interior rooms of the Tuol Sleng Museum and other memorial locations marred by the violence inflicted by the Khmer Rouge regime (1975-1979). Warm, golden-hued pictorial tapestries belie the painful legacy of the empty torture rooms. The weaving process of the artist’s photographic constructions physically intertwine narratives to reiterate the dichotomous nature of cultural memory.
Dinh Q. Lê creates conceptually based multimedia work that reflects on the complex history of Vietnam, issues of war, displaced populations and how non-western cultures are depicted in western media. Exhibiting internationally for 25 years, Lê’s solo exhibition, The Journey is Return, was on view at the San Jose Museum of Art (San Jose, CA) in 2018-19. The Mori Art Museum (Tokyo, Japan) presented a retrospective of his work in 2015. Lê’s work was shown in the 2013 Carnegie International (Pittsburgh, PA), dOCUMENTA (13) (Kassel, Germany), Singapore Art Museum (Singapore), Kiev Biennial (Kiev, Ukraine), a Projects 93 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY) and a critically acclaimed one-person exhibition at the Asia Society in New York. Lê’s work is included in numerous permanent collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, Ford Foundation (New York, NY), Portland Art Museum (Portland, OR), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco, CA), Queensland Gallery of Modern Art (Brisbane, Australia) and the Zabludowicz Collection (London, England).