Binh Danh: The Enigma of Belonging
Binh Danh is an American artist whose work focuses on themes of war, immigration, memory and belonging. His monograph The Enigma of Belonging (Radius Books) brings together multiple bodies of work along with essays by Andrew Lam, Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, Joshua Chuang, and Boreth Ly in a two-volume set.
Danh is known for his use of alternative photographic processes with an innovative approach. The photographs from Immortality: Remnants of the Vietnam and American War are created using a technique he created and coined as the “chlorophyll printing” process. In this series he printed collected images from the Vietnam war era directly onto leaves and grasses, referencing memories of trauma that are held within the land itself.
In 2012 Danh began traveling across the western United States using the 19th century daguerreotype process to capture photographs of the U.S. National Parks. Within the book and on the slipcase cover, the reflective daguerreotype process is mimicked by photographs printed on metallic paper from the National Parks series, offering the viewer a visual space for personal reflection.
Danh’s work offers the viewer to bear witness to collective memories of trauma by showing us both the presence and absence of marks left behind on humanity and upon the land.
Binh Danh (MFA Stanford; BFA San Jose State University) emerged as an artist of national importance with work that investigates his Vietnamese heritage and our collective memory of war. His technique incorporates his invention of the chlorophyll printing process, in which photographic images appear embedded in leaves through the action of photosynthesis. His newer body of work focuses on nineteenth-century photographic processes, applying them in an investigation of battlefield landscapes and contemporary memorials. A recent series of daguerreotypes celebrated the United States National Park system during its anniversary year.
His work is in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The DeYoung Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Center for Creative Photography, the George Eastman Museum, and many others. He received the 2010 Eureka Fellowship from the Fleishhacker Foundation, and in 2012 he was a featured artist at the 18th Biennale of Sydney in Australia. He is represented by Haines Gallery, San Francisco, CA and Lisa Sette Gallery in Phoenix, AZ. He lives and works in San Jose, CA and teaches photography at San Jose State University.
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