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Then and Now, Hanoi streets in transition

May 20, 2023
April 26, 2023
Nguyễn Thế Sơn

8 Façade photos by William  Crawford and 8 Photo relief works  in response by Nguyen The Son.

Complementing this expose of everyday life in  Hanoi is the exhibition in the Manzi Exhibition  Space of 8 facades of houses in Hanoi by William  Crawford taken nearly 30 years ago juxtaposed  with the current 8 facades in photo relief that  correspond to these images by Hanoi’s celebrated  photographer, Nguyen The Son.  For his response to William Crawford’s images,  Son uses his own unique prize winning medium of  photo relief that he developed while completing  his master’s in photography at the Central  Academy of Fine Art in Beijing, China in 2012.  Building a 3-dimensional structure of layers of  each photo, the artist makes the structure come  alive, inserting into the street side all types of  conveyances that change with the times from the  pedicab to the bicycle to the motorbike to the  luxury car, all symbols of the rapid transformation of the city.

As neon lights take over gas lamps, bold  advertising usurps the quiet somber atmosphere  and pulses with the energy of contemporary life.  A quiet contemplative beauty gives way to the  cacophony and action of a modern-day city on  the move, racing to the future.

The Son is well known for his efforts to promote the  arts of Vietnam through not only his own work but  also through numerous public art projects that he has  organized such as the Phung Hung Street and Phuc Tan  project that brings art to the community by involving  artists and the local people in all aspects to make art to  benefit the culture, environment, and promote tourism. Art Vietnam Gallery and Manzi Art/Exhibition Space  want to express our deep gratitude to the American  Embassy for their generous support of this exhibition  and also all the efforts of American artist David Thomas,  founder of the IAP arts foundation without whom this  exhibition would not have been possible. We also want to thank the photographer William  Crawford’s son, William Crawford Jr., who accompanied  his father in the past on some of his journeys to Hanoi,  for dutifully and beautifully printing the works of his  father. An homage to the love and respect for his father. Enjoy this walk into the life of our beloved Hanoi, past  and present, moving forward with grace and dynamism. 

Suzanne Lecht


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