This yet-to-be titled solo exhibition by Lê Giang investigates the element ‘earth’ as part of the ‘Re-aligning the Cosmos’ initiative, seeking to explore the relationship between spiritual belief and material consumption. Over the course of the last year, chosen COSMOS Fellow Artist, Lê Giang, has undertaken in-depth research into the fengshui phenomenon in Vietnam working with cultural researchers, anthropologists and historians, alongside miners, traders and local communities whose lives are impacted and determined by this belief in the meaning and value of precious stones.
Visiting numerous rural provinces in North Vietnam, Giang was initially curious as to why and how a landscape is granted ‘sacred’ status, wanting to understand the science/spirituality behind classification and identification of landscape terrain.
One particular observation (amongst many others) has been observing the lives of local people in such sacred terrain, whose efforts to create and sustain a livelihood often manipulates particular systems of belief, ‘re-purposing’ natural rock formations for the purpose of spiritual tourism.
In visiting such sites as Lục Yên and Văn Chấn (Yên Bái province), Lê Giang has been struck by the ‘new’ landscapes that occur in the wake of extraction, questioning the ‘Nature’ that humans seem so desperate to own. Drawn to the process of making something sacred (thiêng hoá), questioning the process of investing meaning and value into material, Lê Giang’s project seeks to provoke questions of beauty and violence in the illusory representation and practice of feng shui. In a culture where gemstone paintings, sculptures and luxury totems are believed to attract positive energy of luck, good health and fortune, she highlights that such practice predominantly takes place without forethought of how these gems are found, extracted, re-crafted and traded, with little knowledge as to who is benefiting from such thirst for self reassurance.
The artwork for this exhibition is still in process, but will engage such ethos and enquiry, utilizing a varied form of media.