KVT – HANOI 6 pm to 6 am

KVT – HANOI 6 pm to 6 am


KVT as insomniac

Sébastien Laval-HANOI 18H6H 5218

Before I get into the swing of things I apologize for my silliness in taking bad photographs of very good photographs…………………………

I’ve been a bit of a fan of Sebastien Laval’s photographic work since I first saw his black and white ethnic minority exhibition a few years ago at L’Espace and I’ve decided to remain a fan after seeing his new exhibition in the same space.

Laval’s photographs of Hanoi at night from 6pm to 6am, taken over a few years, are beautifully presented and, for me, are beautifully evocative. This is because I have a predilection for bicycling alone around the streets of the city late at night or in the early morning before the day dawns…when the city sleeps and, as Laval says, ‘when the light shows different colors’. As soon as I saw the image on the Grapevine PR for the show it was as if I was riding my bike through narrow Thanh Ha after a late, late show on a chilly night, at Hanoi Cinematheque, nibbling hot chestnuts picked up from a late night vendor in Hang Ba.


On hot summer nights when post midnight insomnia kicks in, Hanoi is so Laval!

Sébastien Laval-HANOI 18H6H-5231

Sébastien Laval-HANOI 18H6H-5230

Very early mornings when Hoa Sua aromas swirl along the streets, Hanoi is so Laval!

Sébastien Laval-HANOI 18H6H-5228

The artist features several large prints of that place where the railway line cuts a narrow swathe through houses near Dien Bien Phu and all very nice

Sébastien Laval-HANOI 18H6H-5232

Sébastien Laval-HANOI 18H6H-5220

Sébastien Laval-HANOI 18H6H-5219

As to whether Laval enhances the light in his finished prints I don’t know or care. Whether they are excellent works of photographic art or not I similarly don’t care as they speak too eloquently to me from a personal experiential level so I’ll leave you to make the critical judgments.

Sébastien Laval-HANOI 18H6H-5229

Sébastien Laval-HANOI 18H6H-5227

Some of the images, I find, are redolent of moody Edward Hopper paintings

and some are like Alfred Hitchcock movie stills waiting to be populated. A few are almost dying to have a glamorous advertisement splashed across them.

Definitely worth a visit

Sébastien Laval-HANOI 18H6H-5225

Sébastien Laval-HANOI 18H6H-5223

Sébastien Laval-HANOI 18H6H-5222

Kiem Van Tim is a keen observer of life in general and the Hanoi cultural scene in particular and offers some of these observations to the Grapevine. KVT insists that these observations and opinion pieces are not critical reviews. Please see our Comment Guidelines / Moderation Policy and add your thoughts in the comment field below.


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