dhz (dehistoricised zone) | Curated by Alan Cruickshank

d h z
(dehistoricised zone)

11 June–18 July, 2010



CACSA projects, recently launching the latest issue of CONTEMPORARY VISUAL ART+CULTURE Broadsheet magazine 39.2 focusing on the 2010 Biennale of Sydney, continues with CACSA Projects 5–the exhibition ‘d h z’–curated by Executive Director Alan Cruickshank, presenting Asian diasporic artists with a connection to recent major exhibitions nationally and internationally. Dinh Q. Lê participated in the 2006 Asia Pacific Triennial, and will have a solo presentation at New York’s Museum of Modern Art at the time of this CACSA exhibition. CACSA Projects 5 presents Dinh Q. Lê’s work South China Sea Pishkun (2009), a digital animation video referencing the end of the American War in Vietnam. Guao Jian’s The Cast and Crew, the artist’s allegorical paintings of cultural difference between China and Australia, was recently shown at 4A Gallery in Sydney, while Dacchi Dang, who exhibited in the Sydney Festival’s Edge of Eleswhere project (also at 4A Gallery, 2010) presents the series Full Circle, alluding to a personalised memory as a refugee, of migrancy and exile, absence and presence, shown at Metro Arts, Brisbane late 2009. In as much as a DMZ is universally known to be a “de-militarised zone”, an area where no military activity is agreed to between two or more warring powers, a DHZ, or ‘de-historicised zone’, becomes a realm where a continuous, systematic narrative of past events relating to a particular people, country and period, that is ‘history’, rather than being fact and having authenticity, acts alternatively to or from the idea of representation of something as ‘historical’. The artists in this exhibition, from either personal or chronicled events, draw upon historical zones to make their work, using those ‘histories’ to make either humorous or contemplative artworks.

South China Sea Pishkun is Dinh Q. Lê’s first animation, based on an event that took place on 30 April 1975, at the end of America’s war in Vietnam. With the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong marching towards Saigon the Southern Vietnamese Army, American military and USA diplomatic personnel were desperately endeavouring to escape. Hundreds of helicopters packed with escapees were flown toward the South China Sea, searching for aircraft carriers. Many crash-landed when they ran out of fuel; others were pushed off the carriers’decks into the sea to make room for more to land. Pishkun is a Blackfeet American Indian term referring to the site where roaming bison were killed by driving them over a cliff. South China Sea Pishkun shows the machinery of war in its last moments, crashing, struggling, sinking and dying in the sea. South China Sea Pishkun was shown at the 4th Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale, 2009. Dinh Q Lê will be exhibiting at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in June 2010.

Dinh Q. Lê lives in Vietnam and holds an MFA in photography from the School of Visual Arts (New York, NY). He has exhibited extensively internationally, recently participating in the 2009 Biennale Cuveê in Linz, Austria, the 2008 Singapore Biennale, and the 2006 Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, in Brisbane, Australia. His work has been exhibited at PS1 Contemporary Art Center (Long Island City, NY), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, IL), The Museum of Fine Arts (Houston, TX), and the Asia Society (New York, NY). Lê’s work is also included in numerous permanent collections including The Museum of Modern Art, The Ford Foundation, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art.


The Cast and Crew is based on Guo Jian’s experience of living between the cultures of Australia and China, confronting the difficulty the migrant faces in telling ‘us’ apart from ‘them’. For Guo, the movie-set is an allegory for the migrant’s experience in the twenty-first century. The feeling of confronting an entirely new society is likened to the experience of being on set in-between ‘takes’. The distinction between ‘us’ and ‘them’, ‘good’ and ‘evil’, is obscured once the cameras are switched off and the actors cast off their roles. Guo Jian’s satirical paintings draw upon his training as a poster artist in the People’s Liberation Army. Melding kitsch and erotic imagery in a display both dazzling and disconcerting, his representations of contemporary scenes draw out the latent violence lurking beneath the surface of popular culture. His paintings employ soldier motifs to subvert the frames through which we view other cultures. In doing so, they expose the politics of seeing that underpins contemporary life, bringing its absurdities and its contradictory tendencies into sharp relief. Guo Jian’s grotesque and playful imagery emphasises the scrambled cultural referents that make up our contemporary landscape. It is by offering us an ambivalent vision of the contemporary world that Guo Jian’s paintings create a space for questioning and reflection. Guo Jian migrated to Australia in 1992. He currently lives in Beijing. Guo Jian was born in Guizhou, China, 1962 and lives and works in Sydney and Beijing; graduated from China Central Minorities Insititute, Beijing, in 1989; recently exhibited at 4A Gallery, Sydney, ARC ONE Gallery, Melbourne, Galerie Anne Lettree, Paris, China Project, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane 2009, Chinese Voices Chinese Stories, Osage Art Gallery, Hong Kong and China Project, Galeria OMR, Mexico City, 2008: his work has been collected by the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra and the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane.


Full Circle is one work in an ongoing series in which Dacchi Dang explores his own experiences since arriving in Australia as a ‘boat person’ from Vietnam. The series began when his highly acclaimed installation The Boat was first exhibited during the time of the ferederal election and the Tampa crisis. In the Full Circle, the role of refugee is less neatly categorised. Dang draws from his considerable skills as photographer yet eschews high-tech gear for the simple pinhole cameras he builds himself from plywood. This is more than an exhibition about images; it is a presentation that leaves the audience with traces of a journey that is still not yet completed. The title suggests that the artist might have returned to his homeland of Vietnam, but it is impossible to evaluate where that homeland might begin and end, Vietnam or the ‘little Vietnam’ of Inala, an outer Brisbane suburb where he lives. In this series Dang assumes the role of a twenty-first century explorer rather than a ‘refugee’. The circular holes of his pinhole cameras recall the telescopes of explorers in previous years foucsing on a central image, and in these pinhole camera images the movement and passage of people are completely eradicated to the point that we are presented with a terra nullius of another making. Dang’s work as an artist-explorer who seems to be searching for clues about what attachment and belonging might mean. (Professor Pat Hoffie, Queensland College of Art, Griffith University)

Dacch Dang is currently studying for his PhD, Queensland College of Art, Griffith University; studied Applied Science in Cultural Heritage Studies,University of Canberra 2002-03; Master of Arts, College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales,1995-96; recently exhibited in Edge of ElseWhere, 2010 Sydney Festival, Gallery 4A, Sydney; other exhibitions Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne, Gallery 4A, Sydney, 2006- 08; The Revenge of Genres, Contemporary Art from Australia, Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris, France, and Les Brasseurs, Liege, Belgium, 2007-08; Metro Arts Gallery, Brisbane, 2009 and Gallery 4A, Sydney, 2001.

Please click here for a copy of the d h z catalogue

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