Sunday, May 4, 2008

Binh Danh

Typically, I find "political art" or art addressing topical issues to comes across as fairly boring. Binh Danh, a Vietnamese-American artist definitely operates in the realm of political art, but I did enjoy his images when I first saw them at a photography exhibit in San Diego several months ago. Mainly, I find the aesthetic of his works pleasing and fairly unique. Danh uses a process called chlorophyll printing (essentially harnessing photosynthesis) that involves taking a green leaf and placing a negative over it between two sheets of glass and letting the leaf bake in the sun for weeks at a time. A successful printing is then coated in resin. The result is often an eerie image imprinted on the leaf and bares a similar likeness to early photography processes such as daguerrotypes. The images usually depict scenes from the Vietnam War, but also just portray simple Vietnamese people. Danh uses leaves to emphasize an interconnectedness with the natural world and to stress fragility and vulnerability of life.

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