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Dr Lea Vuong - research

Research interests

Léa Vuong's research concentrates on text-image relations, particularly 20th and 21st-century collaborations between artists and writers, representations of visual art in literature and artists’ writings. This concern with modern and contemporary verbal/visual dialogues implies a focus on linguistic and cultural crossings, notably on Franco-American exchanges during and after World War II.
Her book Pascal Quignard: Towards the Vanishing Point (Oxford: Legenda, 2016) is a comprehensive survey of the work of contemporary French author Pascal Quignard (1948-). It argues that Quignard’s work is driven by an effort towards disappearance that takes shape in part through collaborations with visual artists. A wider concern for this book is to situate Quignard’s work within a trend in recent and contemporary French literature that equates writing with a vanishing act.
As a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, Léa Vuong is working on a second book based on her current research project supported by a three-year grant from the Leverhulme Trust. It looks at French-American artist Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010) to argue that literature functions both as an inspiration and aspiration in her work. A focus on Bourgeois’s visual and verbal uses of words is complemented by archival research undertaken at the Louise Bourgeois Foundation, where the artist’s private daybooks and diaries are held. The book aims to map Bourgeois’s interactions with the literary realm, bringing her oeuvre into the field of literary studies through close readings of the texts written by the artist. It also examines the reception of Bourgeois’s work as ‘confessional art’ to assess whether the autobiographical dimension of her oeuvre can be read as a literary endeavour. Another concern is Bourgeois’s use of French and English, and the aesthetic and theoretical implications of the interchangeability she imposes on both languages.
Léa Vuong presented her research at the Future Bourgeois symposium at the National Galleries of Scotland in 2014 and has written an essay in the catalogue for Louise Bourgeois: I Have Been to Hell and Back, a retrospective exhibition held at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm and the Museo Picasso in Màlaga in 2015. She is currently working on an exhibition centered on Louise Bourgeois’s writings in collaboration with Manchester's Whitworth Art Gallery.