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.