The Print Center

An-My Lê

Born in Saigon during the Vietnam War, An-My Lê was evacuated to the United States as a teenager. She began her career during the 1980s in France, where she photographed the sculptural and architectural works of the Compagnons du Devoir, a guild of craftspeople and artisans with roots in the Middle Ages. Lê is well known today for her landscape photography of conflict zones, both active and reenacted. Her work demands a keen attention to detail, a skill that she brings to all of her projects, including the ongoing series “The Silent General.”

This series takes its name from the 1882 volume Specimen Days by the American transcendentalist poet Walt Whitman, who cared for wounded soldiers during the American Civil War. In 2015, Lê was invited to photograph on the set of the film Free State of Jones, which retells the story of a Confederate soldier’s armed revolt. This brought Lê to the South, which she continued to explore over the following years. The result is a body of work comprising over three dozen photographs from across the United States. Divided into what she calls “fragments,” they freely interpret what constitutes a monument – from the traditional, like statues of Generals P.G.T. Beauregard and Robert E. Lee, to geographical markers like the United States-Mexico border, houses of worship and the vast farmlands at the heart of this nation. “The word ‘monument’ also implies ‘monumentality’ – of things that are in the landscape, whether a person or a tree,” says Lê. Employing the word “monument” in its broadest sense, Lê’s compositions are crammed with animate and inanimate details that empower viewers to see and understand the world in new ways.

Artist Biography