‘I’ve always been a great admirer of people’s resilience and fearlessness to survive. That has a lot to do with war; you have to move constantly. War can come at any time. So you have to be able to pack, leave and settle down wherever you are and survive immediately. This mindset is interesting; you still see it in Vietnam.’
About Dinh Q. Lê
Dinh Q. Lê is a photographer, video artist, sculptor and installation builder. After the Vietnam War, the family moved to Los Angeles; Lê was then ten years old. That same year the movie Apocalypse Now was released; Francis Ford Coppola’s portrayal of the war contrasted sharply with his own experiences and memories. He studied photography and visual arts. The Vietnam War is a recurring theme in his work.
He returned to Vietnam at the age of 25. Using the photographs he found there, he put together Trying to Find the Way Home – a comprehensive presentation of people’s happy moments during the Vietnam War.
Dinh Q. Lê founded two organizations: the Vietnamese Foundation of the Art in Los Angeles and Sàn Art in Ho Chi Minh City. With this he stimulates exchange and collaboration to bring Vietnamese artists out of their isolation.
The Colony is a video installation about the Chincha Islands off the coast of Peru. The seabird excrement collected there was highly prized as fertilizer in the 19th century, leading to a battle for the islands between British and Spaniards. Only the invention of fertilizers put an end to the geopolitical conflict. In The Colony, Lê explores the greed, absurdity and human misery that imperialism entails.
In 2013 The Farmers and The Helicopters was shown at ART ZUID. A huge, white helicopter raises the question among its spectators whether it will bring death and destruction, or offer help with accidents and natural disasters.