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May 21, 2023 / 16:17

Nguyen The Son reveals his Decade of Exposure

According to Art Vietnam Salon Gallery, this exciting and insightful exhibition portrays the energy and transformation of Hanoi into the thriving metropolis it is today, a model of change and development for all of Southeast Asia.

Visual artist Nguyen The Son reviews his career through an exhibition titled A Decade of Exposure, opening this week at Art Vietnam Salon Gallery in Hanoi.

Son has selected eight photo-reliefs he made ten years ago and then takes the same image from the same vantage point now in 2023.

Witnessing the transformation of the landscape after ten years is an exciting revelation for the public, but especially for the photographer, as the city plunges into modernity with a speed that seems limitless in energy and creativity.

As Son explored numerous structures in the city, from old communal houses and pagodas communal dwellings, shops, and old French villas giving way to modern life and commercial activities, the artist could see how the landscape was changing to suit new tastes and lifestyles.

 Nguyen The Son is a visual artist, curator, and art lecturer. Photo: Hanoi Grapevine

Delicate ironwork on windows and balustrades of old French villas give way to wide modern storefronts displaying the latest fashions and merchandise.

Wooden lanterns and gas lamps evolve into flashing neon in bright colors that flicker day and night. Private courtyards give way to the economy of space, becoming rising multi-story tenements to accommodate the influx of migrants from the countryside, eager to join the emerging economy and leave behind the rice fields and agrarian way of life.

"Here and there, we can still see glimpses of the past. A small tea shop hidden in a dark alleyway that twists and turns between the soaring towers of the apartment complexes becomes a faint reminder of the rich texture of the ancient past," said Suzanne Lecht, gallery director of Art Vietnam Salon.

Lecht stressed that Son honors the past while celebrating the new. He captures the quintessential nature of Vietnamese life, which modulates with changes on the surface but remains firm in the spirit and soul of the ancient city of Hanoi.

Based in Hanoi, Nguyen The Son is a visual artist, photographer, curator, and fine arts lecturer. He graduated from the Hanoi University of Fine Arts, the University of Languages and International Studies, and the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA) with a master's degree in fine art photography and experimental art.

Son has participated in 20 solo and group exhibitions in Vietnam and the world. To connect contemporary art with public spaces in Hanoi, he presents public art on Phung Hung Street, art space in the basement of the National Assembly Building of Vietnam, and Phuc Tan public art project.

The exhibition runs until July 19 at Art Vietnam Salon Gallery, No. 2, Alley 66, Yen Lac Street, Hanoi.

It is part of the Hanoi Photo'23 Biennale. Nguyen The Son is also the curator of several exhibitions in this event.

Some of his works to be displayed:

 Bach Mai Street captured in 2012 and 2023.
 Snapshots of Dai La Street captured in 2016 and 2023.
 Snapshots Luong Ngoc Quyen Street captured in 2012 and 2023.