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Second Opinion

January 7, 2019
December 7, 2018
Nguyễn Thị Huệ
Hà Đào
Hạnh Trần
Lê Xuân Tiến
Nguyễn Đức Huy
Mai Phạm
Thịnh Nguyễn
Jamie Maxtone-Graham

'The several different series of photographs presented in this exhibition were developed out of a long-term workshop experience at Hanoi DocLab and produced in 2017. Each of the photographers located a public or private landscape that held meaning for them and for a number of months explored that photographically. The projects were developed out of group critique sessions with participants sharing their works-in-progress with the others also producing their own series. It was a highly supportive, nurturing and ultimately collaborative effort.

So the opportunity to exhibit the results of that process presented a moment to continue the collaboration - the curators of this exhibition came through the workshop and have seen all the portfolios developed from the beginning, they know the difficulty and the processes intimately and have brought them to this realization on the wall before you.

This is the second group exhibition of DocLab’s photography work. The first, in 2013, was called Autopsy Of Days – a title suggesting a kind of clinical examination, a post-mortem by the photographers in examining their own lives, their own time within their own city of Hanoi. In medicine, when patients receive a difficult diagnosis from a doctor and are uncertain about how to proceed with treatment, often they will get a second opinion from another medical professional in order to confirm, dispute or amend the original finding.

So here, by a different group, is a second look'

- Jamie Maxtone-Graham


About the artworks

1. Story of Blue and Red by Nguyễn Thị Huệ

Everybody could be described by one or a group of color.

It could be their aura or physical appearance. It could be the melancholic, cold deep blue or the burning red of fire. It could be a beautiful confluence or vast emptiness that cannot be be connected.

Through the memories of her parents in her childhood and her feelings about their relationship, the artist wants to portray their relationship as to look back and to discover more about them through the photography process that has interaction with her parents

2. The Mirror by Hà Đào

In this interior setting, two bodies experience pain, pleasure and sensations in between. The camera is turned at both the girl and her lover, sometimes peering at what’s living inside a house with a half open window, an enclosed fish tank and a sealed plastic bag.

This is a slightly truthful, slightly fantastical diary that is open to the public. These are captured moments of craving, clinging, confronting and pushing away, which rely on the camera sensor as a safe box, whose meanings slip once the person is not present.

3. Another World by Hạnh Trần

"One day, I was wondering in a vast burning grass field. I saw the wood wastes dried out to make matches. I was silently watching them: the shape of the wood resembles human eyes, the grass burning out from its root still felt warm.

I photographed them as an observer. I went on to capture little details of the natural world surrounding me. This allows me to see and feel them close to my body. The shape and lines of a leaf could be the neutrons in my brain or the veins in my heart…

With materials from nature that are considered garbage, I hope to reveal and visualize our human connection with another world that exists right here and now, but might fall into oblivion."

4. Mom-me của Việt Vũ

Mom-me is  my  first  personal  image  project  about  my  mom made in late 2016. I  used  the  camera  as  a  means  to  experience  the traces time has left on my mom's body.  This  collection  is  also  an  exploration  inside  my  mind  about  what the  relationship  between  a  mom  and  a  son  looks  like.  While  making  the  nude  photos  that  shows  apparent  old-age  traces  on  my  mom,  I  had  clear  intention  of  using  natural  on-spot  lighting.  In  that  way,  I  could  reach  the  simplicity  and  the  natural  quality  of  the  images.  That  helped  me  come  closest  to  the  character – my  mom.  Also,  in  that  way,  I  could  expose  the  somewhat  under-dogged  character  in  the  most  direct  way.  Other  photos  reveal  my  mom  in  a  gentler  and  somewhat  poetic  way  as  if  in  a  sweet  dream.

5. Looking for the 4th side by Lê Xuân Tiến

The series is a process of confronting scenes on which the author imposed his memories, dissecting the memories from the scenes so they can both be looked at again in a different form. A piece of memory only exists in the the mind, and the scenes do not carry the author's personal imprint. Could this attempt succeed?

6. '112' by Nguyễn Đức Huy

With this work, the artist repeats the process of recording the subject day by day with the same camera angle and composition, following the dying process of the tangerines. In this whole process, the artist asks himself: At which moment are they actually dead?

7. What I shoot when I go around the city by Mai Phạm

This project starts when I take my camera around the city where I’m living, recording all imagery that caught my attention, freely and naturally.  Slowly, the images that I want to remember from those wandering times started to be more focused.  They reflects my feeling about the city. To me, Hanoi is a living creature, that inside which each scenery and resident has connect and exist in different ways.