Our chosen element for 2020 is Earth! The Factory is pleased to announce Hanoi based artist Lê Giang as our successful ‘Re-Aligning the Cosmos’ Fellow with her proposal to investigate the meaning, extraction and trade of precious stones in Vietnam in the popular Feng shui belief that its energy brings fortune, good health and prosperity. Examining Feng shui beliefs in the given meaning of these precious stones, Lê Giang aims to dig deeper into the possible environmental repercussions, economic profits and cultural degradation of such resources. Examining not only present day mining techniques and their impacts on the livelihood and spiritual life of the local indigenous communities, including the increase of such trade during the colonial occupation of Vietnam, she also intends to research the current realm of luxury brand products, of how the design of our material desires represents Nature as resource that humankind can own, and thus exploit. Following on from this curiosity in how Nature is (ill) valued and depicted, Lê Giang seeks to know more about the historical occurrence of ‘sơn thuỷ hữu tình’—a romanticized genre of depicting landscape through painting, sculpture, textile (always with mountains and rivers) that are often found on display as decoration in many Vietnamese households. Through folktales, myths and collective memory, Lê Giang envisages resulting artwork/s that re-construct such notions of beauty in Vietnam, one that is in stark contrast with the current exploitation of the elements in their natural environment.

Lê Giang (b. 1988, Hanoi)
Lê Giang earned a BA in Art Education from Vietnam Fine Art University and an MA in Fine Art at University of the Arts London, UK. Her predominant drawing and sculptural practice questions the systematization of human memory and habit via the study of archive and interdisciplinary collaborative research. Compelled by the violence of erasure in the process of categorizing History and its human and non-human worlds, Giang’s exploration of particular media – eg. coal, plaster, stone – reveals the symbolic weight of materiality, begging a re-assessment of often near hidden colonial imprimata, cultural superstition or social stigma.

Lê Giang is co-founder of Six Space, an artist-run space in Hanoi. Her most recent exhibitions included: ‘Citizen Earth’ (General University, Hanoi, 2020), ‘D’eau et de Verdure’ (Institut Francais, Hanoi & Vin Gallery, HCMC, 2020), ‘Vestige of a Land’ (Art Central Hong Kong, 2019), ‘Phản niệm’ (Vin Gallery, HCMC, 2018), ‘Vestige of a Land’ (Goethe Institut Hanoi, 2017); ‘Above Under Sky’ (Manzi Art Space Hanoi, Hanoi, 2014); ‘Reincarnate’ (Conflictable Cube, Irabaki, Japan, 2013).