Dinh Q. Lê in collaboration with Tran Quoc Hai, Le Van Danh, Phu-Nam Thuc Ha, and Tuan Andrew Nguyen. Still from The Farmers and The Helicopters. 2006. Three-channel video (color, sound), 15 min., and helicopter. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the artist, Fund for the Twenty-First Century, and Committee on Media and Performance Art Funds. © 2010 Dinh Q. Lê. Courtesy the artist; P.P.O.W. Gallery, New York; Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Santa Monica; and Elizabeth Leach Gallery.
NEW YORK, NY.- The Museum of Modern Art presents Projects 93: Dinh Q. Lê, the installation of Dinh Q. Lê’s (Vietnamese American, b. 1968) recently acquired work The Farmers and The Helicopters (2006), on view June 30, 2010, through January 24, 2011. The first Vietnamese artist to have a solo exhibition at MoMA, Lê creates work that frequently refers to the Vietnam War—known as the American War in his native country—and presents both sides of the conflict, informed by his own personal history. The installation, in two adjacent galleries, comprises a three-channel video and a helicopter that was constructed by hand from scrap parts by two Vietnamese men: Le Van Danh, a farmer, and Tran Quoc Hai, a self-taught mechanic. The video, made in collaboration with artists Phu-Nam Thuc Ha and Tuan Andrew Nguyen, interlaces interviews and personal recollections of the war by Vietnamese men and women with clips from American blockbuster films and documentaries made during the war. Projects 93: Dinh Q. Lê is organized by Klaus Biesenbach, Chief Curator at Large, The Museum of Modern Art, and Director, MoMA PS1, and Cara Starke, Assistant Curator, Department of Media and Performance Art, The Museum of Modern Art. The Elaine Dannheisser Projects series is coordinated by Kathy Halbreich, Associate Director, The Museum of Modern Art.
The helicopter played an important military role during the war and has become a resonant object for many Vietnamese. While many of the interviewees in the installation’s video relay childhood memories of the horrors associated with helicopters during the war, the helicopter-makers share their vision of this machine as a means to make a better life for the Vietnamese people and bring strength to their community. The collaboration between Lê and the other participants is an important part of The Farmers and The Helicopters, providing the work’s multilayered insight into the country’s complex associations with this charged object.
Lê, who lives and works in Ho Chi Minh City, received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1989, and in 1992 he received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York. His work has been shown at the Singapore Biennale, Singapore (2008); Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, Washington (2007); Arko Art Center, Seoul, Korea (2007); The Museum of Fine Art, Houston, Texas (2007); MoMA PS1, Long Island City, New York (2006); Asia Society, New York, New York (2005); Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2003); The RISD Museum of Art, Providence, Rhode Island (2002); and Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California (2001).