Dreaming of celluloid

Dinh Q. Lê and Christian Tomaszewski at Tufts
By EVAN J. GARZA  |  January 12, 2009

090109-mg_main
Dinh Q. Lê, Persistence of Memory #11

Of the handful of contemporary Asian shows on view in and around Boston this winter, that of Dinh Q. Lê should prove unique — if only because the Vietnamese condition is so far removed from the rest of East Asia’s cultural boom. Opening January 22 at the Tufts University Art Gallery, “A TAPESTRY OF MEMORIES: THE ART OF DINH Q. LÊ” is a survey of works from museums and private collections that includes two video installations, two white-on-white fabric embroideries, and an installation. The highlight, however, will be 18 of Lê’s trademark photo-weavings, which weave strips of Hollywood film stills, Western product logos, and anonymous vintage photos of Vietnamese men and women during the Vietnam War together in a Vietnamese grass-mat technique. The result is a unifying yet disrupted fusion where new images keep forming and disappearing. Lê was born in Ha Tien in 1968, but his family fled to Los Angeles in 1979 after his home town was invaded by Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime. Based now in Ho Chi Minh City, he weaves not only memories and histories but also the Eastern and Western identities that are inherent in his perspective.

Also opening at Tufts on January 22 will be “CHRISTIAN TOMASZEWSKI: HUNTING FOR PHEASANTS,” an installation by the New York–based artist featuring video, a painted maze on the gallery’s floor, and posters for non-existent Polish films suspended over several bands of color painted on gallery walls. Born in Gdansk in 1971, Tomaszewski was inspired by the Polish Poster School of the 1960s and ’70s, and his installation will offer more than 60 posters — some made with tempera, drawing, collage, and stained glass. Select works draw inspiration from James Bond films as the set-up for a story of assassination victims, and the show’s title is an analogy that compares bird hunting to politically motivated killings. The maze implores audiences to view the exhibition in a non-linear narrative format, in keeping with the artist’s fondness for film and a previous installation in which he re-created spaces and props from David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. And though the works in the Remis Sculpture Court and Koppelman Gallery aren’t intended to translate cinema into an installation, they do, like Mr. Lynch, use narrative elements and space to disorient the viewer. If only Laura Dern were involved somehow.

 “A TAPESTRY OF MEMORIES: THE ART OF DINH Q. LÊ” AND “CHRISTIAN TOMASZEWSKI: HUNTING FOR PHEASANTS” at Tufts University Art Gallery, 40R Talbot Ave, Medford | January 22–March 29 | 617.627.3518 orwww.ase.tufts.edu/gallery

Related: Review: The Disappearance of McKinley Nolan, David Lynch | Crazy Clown Time, Review: The best of the Ottawa International Animation Film Festival, More more >
  Topics: Museum And Gallery , David Lynch, David Lynch, Ho Chi Minh City,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY EVAN J. GARZA
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   DISCOTECHNIQUE  |  June 11, 2009
    Break out your hottest moves — a forthcoming exhibition in South Boston asserts that the path to abstraction could go through dancing.
  •   MARITIME AFTER TIME  |  June 03, 2009
    There's no question about the Peabody Essex Museum's unwavering love of all things nautical. How many other museums employ a curator of maritime art and history (in this case, Daniel Finamore)?
  •   STAYCATION  |  May 28, 2009
    With some contemporary-art spaces holding off on summer programming, June's First Friday celebration at the Harrison Avenue galleries may be the strongest one until the fall season, when both the traffic and the collectors return.
  •   FOLK MY BRAINS OUT  |  May 19, 2009
    Toby Kamp's 'The Old, Weird America: Folk Themes In Contemporary Art' at The Decordova Museum
  •   VIVA MODERNISM  |  May 12, 2009
    Long before the threat of swine flu, Mexico was the scene of an outbreak of a very different kind: Modernism.

 See all articles by: EVAN J. GARZA