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Dinh Q. Lê

(Vietnamese-American, born 1968)

Untitled, from the series Cambodia: Splendor and Darkness

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Object Details

Artist

Dinh Q. Lê

Date

1998

Medium

Cut and woven c-prints and linen tape

Dimensions

63 × 44 1/8 inches (160 × 112 cm)

Credit Line

Acquired through the George and Mary Rockwell Fund

Object
Number

2014.001

During his childhood in Ha Tien, a Vietnamese town near the border with Cambodia, Dinh Q. Lê witnes(…)

During his childhood in Ha Tien, a Vietnamese town near the border with Cambodia, Dinh Q. Lê witnessed violent incursions by the Khmer Rouge. In the late 1970s he and his family settled in the United States as refugees, and Lê later received an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York. The series Cambodia: Splendor and Darkness (1994-9) marked a significant moment in his practice, occurring around the time that Lê decided to return to Vietnam and make his home in Ho Chi Minh City. It is the first major series in which he used the method of interweaving strips of photographs, following bamboo mat weaving techniques he learned from his aunt during his childhood. Here he juxtaposes two different images associated with Cambodia: bas-reliefs of battle scenes from the 12th-century temple of Angkor Wat, and photographs of prisoners from the Khmer Rouge detention center known as S-21, now the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. Lê creates a dialogue between two episodes of Cambodian history that he sees as intrinsically rooted in violence, producing an alternative means of memorializing these victims.

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