Remnants, Ruins, Civilization, and Empire
Shoshana Wayne Gallery is pleased to present a new body of work by Dinh Q. Le. This exhibition will mark Dinh’s sixth show with the gallery.
The artist is known for his technique of weaving photographic images together; he continues in this tradition with this new series. Le investigates two highly intelligent cultures of the past: one of ancient Sumer, the other of 12th century Cambodia. Both cultures are remembered in his work through their remnants and ruins.
In his travels to Angkor Wat and its environs, Le photographed the relics of once majestic temples. Here he focuses on the rubble that now exists, stacking several images together one on top of another like rocks. Interwoven with the temple imagery are images of Cambodian citizens who were killed by the Khmer Rouge.
Sumer was once situated in what is now present-day Iraq. There are little remains from this civilization found on Iraqi land. The Sumerians are recognized to be one of the first contributors of written word; which is just one facet representative of this highly civilized people. Le traveled to various world museums and photographed artifacts from ancient Sumer now housed in museum collections. As with the previous photos, Le has taken images culled from the internet of Iraqi and Afghan citizens and interwoven these portraits with the relics from Sumerian civilization.
The artist relates these two distinct groups from history- one an ancient civilization, the other an empire from centuries ago, and connects them through their ruin. Both peoples achieved great heights of mastery and success; propelling humanity forward as evidenced in the remains of beautiful temples, and a systematized writing and numeric language with relevance reaching to contemporary society. Yet somehow, despite the dramatic greatness of each civilization and empire, there is an inevitable crash, where culture does not prevail. Each is humbled in history by recent events- one being the Cambodian genocide that occurred just a few decades ago, and the other, more recently by the troubled political climate in Iraq.
Le seeks to reconcile this difficult dichotomy with his poetic images of history and humanity portrayed in a monochrome of black and white.
This year Le will be featured in dOCUMENTA (13), Kassell, Germany and the Kiev Biennial, Kiev, Ukraine.
Dinh Q. Le has exhibited nationally and internationally at the Venice Biennale, Italian Pavilion, Venice; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Asia Society, New York; Singapore Biennial, Singapore; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Museum of Fine Arts Houston; Houston TX; The Drawing Center, New York; SF MoMA, San Francisco, CA; Busan Biennial, Busan, Korea; Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC; Hayward Gallery, London, UK, among many others.
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