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Photo credit: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University

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Title: Untitled, from the series Cambodia: Splendor and Darkness
Date: 1998
Medium: Cut and woven chromogenic prints and linen tape
Dimensions: 63 × 44 inches (160 × 111.8 cm)
Credit Line: Acquired through the George and Mary Rockwell Fund
Object Number: 2014.001
Label Text: 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.

NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.