An-My Le: Small Wars
Image 1 / 2: An-My Le. Small Wars: Explosion..
Image 2 / 2: An-My Le: Small Wars. (installation view).
This exhibition was comprised of two photographic series by An-my Le that explored the military conflicts that have framed the last half-century of American history: the war in Vietnam and the current war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The artist approached these events obliquely. Instead of addressing her subject by creating reportage of actual shocking events, she photographed places where war is psychologically anticipated, processed and relived. Her series “Small Wars” (1999-2002) depicted men who spend their weekends reenacting battles from the Vietnam War in the forests of Virginia. Le’s subsequent series, “29 Palms” (2003-present), documented a military base of the same name. Located in the California desert, soldiers train at this base before being deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. These two dramatizations of war – one reenactment, one rehearsal – allowed her to create a unique kind of war imagery: unexpected, removed, and revelatory.