Coming in April: 'Dinh Q. Le: Beautiful Terror'

In spring quarter, the Viking Union Gallery will present "Dinh Q. Le: Beautiful Terror," featuring the potent and paradoxical work of one of Vietnam’s leading contemporary artists. Comprised of four pieces – including photomontage, photography, and video – the exhibition serves as a small but prolific portal into Le's star-studded career, spotlighting his large scale cut-and-woven chromogenic color prints which directly reference traditional Vietnamese grass mat weaving techniques and the duality between recorded and lived history.

The exhibition will run April 4 to 22.

In 1978, at the age of ten, Le fled Vietnam with his family and immigrated to Los Angeles. Earning his BFA from the University of California, Santa Barbara, Le began to combine photography with traditional Vietnamese grass weaving techniques that he had learned from his aunt. Le continued to perfect his photo weaving while earning his MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York. Much of Le’s work deals with the dichotomy between what is recorded, and official, and the first-hand accounts of events that individuals have lived through.

Dinh Q. Le: Beautiful Terror includes two of Le’s woven works which depict immediately recognizable moments from history, the self-immolation of Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk Thích Quang Duc as well as an image of several villagers from the Mai Lai massacre who are awaiting execution by American troops. The images are enormous and their weight, the terror therein, confronts the viewer. Each image is interwoven with bands of color and thus the truth of the images is beautified.

Also featured is one of Le’s video pieces which gives voice to Vietnamese who were impacted directly by conflicts within Vietnam. The video examines, through interviews, the ways in which narrative, history, and emotion are constructed.

Le will be visiting Western Washington University on Wednesday, April 6. He will give a free public lecture at 4 p.m. in Miller Hall Room 138 and attending the opening reception of "Dinh Q. Le: Beautiful Terror" in the Viking Union Gallery at 5:30 p.m.

This event and exhibition was organized by Professor Garth Amundson and VU Gallery Director Jean-Louis Gazabat, and made possible by the generous support of Western Washington University’s Department of Art, Associated Students, VU Gallery, Diversity Fund, LGBT Advocacy Council, Center for International Studies, and Center for East Asian Studies. Special thanks to the Elizabeth Leach Gallery for lending the works on exhibition.