An-My Lê



February 21 – May 17, 2015


The Hasselblad Foundation presents the first solo show in the Nordic countries by the Vietnamese-American photographer An-My Lê. The exhibition is inaugurated February 20 in the presence of An-My Lê and the exhibition curator Kate Bush.


An-My Lê’s art explores conflict by avoiding simple representations of war and the military machine. She maintains a certain distance from her subject, in order to create nuanced scenes that hover between documentary, fiction, play and battle. Driven both by personal experience, and by empathy, the resulting images embody a quiet and intense emotion.


Her art historical inspiration points include not least the 19th century photographers Roger Fenton, Timothy O’Sullivan and Gustave Le Gray, drawn to the clarity and richness of their photographs as well as the drama of their epic, exploratory subject matter.  Lê works with a large format view camera, as they did, in order to examine her subject with the greatest breadth of vision possible. Lê also acknowledges the influence of the 19thcentury history paintings of Turner and Géricault.


This exhibition presents works from An-My Lê’s major photographic series to date. Viêt Nam (1994-1998) features images of the Vietnamese landscape; Small Wars (1999-2002) depicts Vietnam War scenes re-enacted in the forests of Virginia and North Carolina. The film installation29 Palms (2003 – 2004) portrays American soldiers preparing for deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan. The recently completed epic workEvents Ashore (2005-2014) involved An-My Lê travelling with the American armed forces. During the travels she explored the US military’s expanded global operations and the implications of war via quiet moments away from combat – an approach that is characteristic of her work.


An-My Lê (born in Vietnam in 1960) left Saigon with her family as a teenager in 1975 in the final days of the war and settled in the United States as a political refugee. She graduated first in biology from Stanford University, then in photography from Yale University. She lives and works in New York and is Professor of Photography at Bard College. An-My Lê has had major exhibitions throughout the United States and her work is held extensively in collections including the Museum of Modern Art New York, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York and Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. The series Small Wars is included in Tate Modern’s group exhibition Conflict, Time, Photography, on view spring 2015. Her new book, Events Ashore, was recently published by Aperture Foundation.


The exhibition is curated by Kate Bush and organised by MK Gallery, Milton Keynes in partnership with the Hasselblad Foundation, Gothenburg and MAS - Museum aan de Stroom, Antwerp.

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