Một Cõi Đi Về
April 3 — June 22, 2013
Titled after Trịnh Công Sơn's popular song, "Một Cõi Đi Về" (translated by Dinh Q. Lê to mean: “spending one’s life trying to find one’s way home”) is an archival work consisting of more than 1,500 vernacular photographs culled from secondhand stores in Vietnam.
While many of the photographs bear inscription by their former owners in Vietnamese, Chinese, and French, others include passages from an English translation of Nguyen Du’s "The Tale of Kieu" (1820) and James Freeman’s "Hearts of Sorrow: Vietnamese-American Lives" (1989); these were inscribed at the time the piece was constructed.
Stitched together and measuring 14 x 22 feet, Dinh Q. Lê’s large-scale installation shines a light on both mid-20th century Vietnamese cultural history and the diaspora that followed the Vietnam-American War. Một Cõi Đi Về also provides a unique platform from which we can consider the role that photography plays in helping to shape both personal and public histories and memories.