Dinh Q. Lê
Ramayana #11, 2021
Cut and woven photographic prints mounted on strips of linen
165 x 220 cm (64.96 x 86.61 in.)
© Dinh Q. Lê, courtesy of the artist and 10 Chancery LaneGallery, Hong Kong
Artworks that evoke the passage of time and memories, whether personal or collective, encompass a diverse and fascinating category within contemporary art. It’s the subject, but also the essential medium for some artists to create the art work.
Artists often take an intuitive approach to visually express their memories. Some artists encapsulate memories as tangible images, recreating moments from the past in their work. They convey the essence of those memories, capturing not only the visual aspects but also the associated emotions and atmospheres.
One notable artist, Dinh Q. Lê, exemplifies this theme by delving into his personal history as a Vietnamese immigrant and the collective memory of the Vietnam War. He uses family photographs and found images to weave narratives of remembrance and identity, often focusing on themes like displacement and the enduring impact of war. Lê's work prompts viewers to reflect on how individual stories intertwine with broader historical narratives, emphasizing the enduring significance of personal and collective memories. On the other hand, some artists choose to focus on the emotions and atmospheres that memories evoke when confronted with images of the past. They might not recreate specific scenes or details but instead channel nostalgia, longing, or melancholy into their work.
Intriguingly, certain artists delve even deeper into the nature of memories. They explore the inherent characteristics of memories, recognizing that over time, memories tend to become uncertain, blurred, and sometimes even distorted. Memories are not static entities, and are instead shaped by the passage of time. These artists create works that reflect the fluidity and fragility of memory, inviting viewers to contemplate the malleable nature of their own recollections.
In her 2017 video work Interval. Recess. Pause., Korean artist Sojung Jun explores the unique nature of memories. The video centers around three Korean adoptees and their memories, which are vividly tied to senses beyond sight, such as sound, taste, and smell. Jun employs a multi-dimensional approach, using image, sound, narration, and text to create connections and disconnections that generate gaps in time and space. She emphasizes the sensory aspect of memory and its ability to connect individual and collective experiences.
Interval. Recess. Pause., 2017
Single-channel video, stereo sound, HD
All rights reserved by the artist
Commemoration / Mourning
Individual and Society
Unconsciousness / Subconsciousness
Gelatin Silver Print
Soft and Meticulous Brushstrokes