Exhibition “Houses Facing the Street”

Exhibition “Houses Facing the Street”

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Goethe Institut VietnamExhibition Houses Facing the Street

Opening: Thu 08 Mar, 6 pm
Exhibition: 08 – 28 Mar 2012, 9 am – 7 pm
Artist Talk: Mon 12 Mar, 6 pm

From Goethe Institut:
Goethe-Institut Hanoi presents Nguyen The Son’s solo exhibition “Houses Facing the Street”. The exhibition focuses on an aspect of Hanoi’s rapid change which has spread without having been noticed: huge billboards that cover entire house fronts and compete for the viewer’s attention with their bright colors.

All the human eye perceives, however, is the colorful advertisement, the gaze does not penetrate, one speeds past. Hanoi’s residential buildings, which have long shaped the face of the city, are changing: Instead of windows and balconies which facilitate the communication between neighbors, tall billboards seal the houses off, both towards the street, the outside, as well as the inside. What remains is a lightless living space behind the façade losing in value as well as a city with a changed face.

Exhibition Houses Facing the Street

Click to enlarge

Nguyen The Son seizes upon the issue of these billboards and, by digital means, makes it into entire streets. Using a unique printing technique on Xuan paper and silk, the artist manages to intertwine both old and new techniques in an appealing union. Furthermore, the exhibition features photographic installations which play with the beholder’s perception and blur the line between reality and fiction. This extraordinary exhibition by Nguyen The Son, who has already focused his attention on other phenomenons of Hanoi’s urban landscape in earlier works, invites the visitor to see Hanoi with different eyes.

Nguyen The Son

Nguyen The Son was born in 1978. He graduated from the Vietnam Academy of Fine Arts in 2002, where he then filled a teacher’s position from 2002 until 2008. In 2008, he began the pursuit of his Master’s degree in Fine Art Photography at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. Apart from his solo exhibitions “Headwash”(2005), “High Above” (2007) and “New higher Level” (2009), Nguyen The Son’s work has been shown in numerous group exhibitions in Vietnam and China from 2000 until today.

Free admission.


Goethe Institut Vietnam

Goethe-Institut Hanoi
56-58 Nguyễn Thái Học
Ba Đình, Hà Nội
Tel.: +84 4 37342251
Fax: +84 4 37342254
[email protected]


  1. A reflection of the rapidly reshaping city/street scape of Hanoi as part of a globalized view of today’s world, this show is interesting in its formal presentation and the means the artist is using to explore it.
    Paradoxically, in some of the works on show the use of three-dimensional modeling in apparent opposition to the flatness brought about by the billboard advertising in the public and social space only reinforces it by the cut-out approach to the images of people and objects of the street scape, as if flattening their actuality and evening it out with the actuality of advertising.
    I found this work dry and aesthetically limited to its technical production in scope and artist’s presence.
    Perhaps this effect was sought after by the artist and in that sense the work delivers the perceived detachment to the fore.
    In the remaining works the selected sign imagery is used to a great effect for its decorative role as well as implied meaning of entertainment and the use of print on paper/silk and the traditional scroll format is seductively appealing in its combination of modernity and tradition — actuality and symbolism, and (deliberately or not) suggests the replacement of content in formal tradition.
    The accompanying catalog is impressive in its design and generously given away to every visitor at the opening night — a beautifully crafted object to keep…

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