As The Strand Gallery prepares for its next exhibition; XXXIX by Maja Vrzina, we are focusing on art that captures raw personal struggle and experience. Photographer and artist Binh Danh explores his Vietnamese-American heritage and the painful memories associated, through a hard-hitting yet delicate manner. In his own words, he explores a combination of “mortality, memory, history, landscape, justice, evidence, and spirituality” , culminating in some of the most unique creative works of recent times.

Binh Danh

Ancestral Altars, 2006

Utilising Danh’s own invention of chlorophyll printing, the artist places the positives of photographs upon leafs chosen from his mother’s garden. He then positions his work in the sun for several days, allowing for the action of photosynthesis to take place. The results are an array of stunning one-off images that appear imprinted on the fragile leafs. Danh then places the finished leafs into blocks of resin to preserve and frame his creations as if biological samples.

Such use of natural and fragile resources to depict scenes of turmoil and suffering creates a powerful juxtaposition that other artists often overlook. Danh focuses upon the notions of nature’s innocence with the atrocities of humanity; all of which are noted from his cultural perspectives and memories. He explains how the leaves embody the continuum of war; they hold the residue of debris, weapons, tears and blood. “The dead have been incorporated into the landscape of Vietnam during the cycles of birth, life, and death”. Thus through the creation and preservation of such artworks, the memories of struggle live on.

Untitled, 2006

Ambush in the leaf #4, 2007

For more information on artist Binh Danh, visit his website.

Stay tuned for upcoming news on our next exhibition XXXIX by Maja Vrzina.


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