Lien Truong


Iraq, 2016 (Translatio Imperii series)


Oil on paper, vintage frame, acrylic, brass

17 x 21 cm

In the Translatio Imperii series, Lien Truong harnesses the style of 19th century American landscape painting to represent sites bombed by the US after World War II. She covers these paintings with black paint, save for a window in the shape of a brushstroke — a nod to the 1960s Brushstrokes series by American artist Roy Lichtenstein. We are meant to view these landscapes through the lens of modernism, a reminder that Abstract Expressionism was weaponized by the CIA during the Cold War to symbolize American individualism and freedom. On each frame, Truong affixes a bronze plate with the location depicted and year of bombing. These intimately sized paintings are powerful in their directness: in picture after picture, it is clear that the United States has inflicted immeasurable global harm. 

(Text excerpts from Future Pictures from the Yellow Pages of History by Aleesa Pitchamarn Alexander)