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Dinh Q. Lê, Pure Land, Tang Contemporary Art Bangkok


Tang Contemporary Art Bangkok
3/F, The Peninsula Plaza, 153 Rajdamri Road, Lumphini, Pathumwan

Opening: Saturday, 12 January at 6 pm
Artist and Curator in Conversation: Sunday, 13 January at 4 pm
*Artist will be present and available for interviews, please contact us in advance for scheduling

Tang Contemporary Art Bangkok proudly presents Pure Land, a solo show featuring newly commissioned works by acclaimed Vietnamese-American artist Dinh Q. Lê. Devised in line with Lê’s enduring interest in the notions of memory and trauma, Pure Land emerges from critical investigation of the ripple effect across Vietnamese society of Agent Orange, a herbicide used as a chemical weapon during the Vietnam War. As much as a memory of war, the ruinous effects of Agent Orange, from birth defects to physical deformities, are still considered a taboo subject, hindering personal and collective reconciliation with the country’s controversial past. For Pure Land, Lê visualizes the trauma of the war through thought-provoking photographs and sculptures of physical anomalies and conjoined twins intertwined with lotus flowers as a powerful Buddhist allusion to ascending from the murky depths.

The glaring contrast between this aesthetics of divinity and the atrocity of war, combined with the use of unconventional materials that push the boundaries of art-making, conjure in Pure Land a space of innocence and purity to challenge social stigma against deformity and abnormality, and to confront the horrors of war. At the same time the air of mysticism that imbues the works further fosters Lê’s remarkable artistic narrative and his ability to counterpoise art and social critique—“…and of course, then, only then learning can take place.”

The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive publication featuring the newly commissioned artworks ofPure Land, including a curatorial essay by Loredana Pazzini-Paracciani, as well as an engaging interview with the artist about his practice and the production of this new body of works.

Dinh Q. LÊ

Lê’s (b. 1968, Vietnam) work and art practice revolve around the themes of identity, history, and memory, which span various mediums from his well-known woven photographs and tapestries to handmade paper, and video and mixed-media installations that questions the reception and consumption of images and how visual culture may inform a national identity. Lê and his family left Vietnam in 1978 and lived in refugee camps in Thailand before relocating to the United States. In California where he lived and went to art school, Lê was sparked by the prevailing perceptions of the Vietnam War and its lingering consequences on the Vietnamese people.

Lê has been invited to exhibit at the 50th Venice Biennial, as well as Documenta (13) at Kassel, Germany. In 2012 he exhibited a major solo project at the Museum of Modern of Art, New York. Lê has participated in numerous international exhibitions, recent solo exhibitions include San Jose Museum of Art, California, USA (2018); Singapore Tyler Print Institute (2018); Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands (2017); Icon Gallery, Birmingham, UK (2016); Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan (2016); Site Gallery, Centre for Contemporary Art, Sheffield, UK (2016); Artangel, London, UK (2016); Mori Museum, Tokyo, Japan (2015); P.P.O.W. Gallery, New York, USA (2014); San Francisco Camerawork, USA (2013). Selected group exhibitions include Hong Kong Art Centre (2017); Nam June Paik Art Center, Yongin-si, South Korea (2017); Asia Society and Museum, New York, USA (2017); Trapholt Museum, Kolding, Denmark (2016); Centre for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, Poland (2016);Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia (2015);Carré d’Art, Nîmes, France (2014); Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Texas, USA (2012); The Annenberg Space for Photography, Los Angeles, USA (2012); The Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA (2012); National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan (2011). Dinh Q. Le works and lives in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

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