Group Photo Exhibition “Salon of Light”

Group Photo Exhibition “Salon of Light”

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Opening: 22 Nov 2020, 05 pm – 08 pm
Exhibition: 23 Nov – 12 Dec 2020
Mai Gallery
113 Hàng Bông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội

From the organizer:

The opening of a photography group exhibition called “Salon of Light”.

This is an activity expected to take place annually in Hanoi and as a continuation of the photography activities that have taken place at Noirfoto Gallery, HCMC. in the past few years. These exhibitions are the beginning of a new art movement and redefine the concept of photography in Vietnam as an unique but not limited language and medium of art. The activities are all aimed at inspiring, informing, fostering, and facilitating exhibits for all artists who use the medium and language of photography in creating their arts.

Therefore, the name of the exhibition was carefully selected and has many layers of meanings. Photo-graphy is “to write the light”, ‘light’ is the first essential element needed to create a photographic work. ‘Salon of Light’ is inspired by Western Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries – the time when photography was born and developed along with many other technologies during the 1st and 2nd Industrial Revolutions. Art Salons were also in bloom during this period, which exhibited the best works of radical artists who changed art and ushered in a whole new era.

This exhibition will feature six photographers, new and established, with unique and diverse themes and also photographic techniques that have never appeared in the country. All six artists have studied and practiced photography abroad and are now returning to work in Vietnam.

Pham Tuan Ngoc, who is also the founder of Noirfoto, displays the mysterious ‘Chloris’ series where the spirit of flower leaves its petals to reincarnate into the photographic papers and becomes immortal, using the lumen print technique which is brand new in Vietnam. Bach Nam Hai brings in ‘The Vietnam I want to keep’ which is the sequel to the ‘Goodman’s Treasure’ that was exhibited at Noirfoto Gallery in July 2020; in this series, he continues to emphasize the original beauty and characteristics of the Vietnamese scene and culture. Nguyen Quang Bach continues his journey to explore the relationship between people and the other realm through the colorful and lively spiritual rituals in the simple but profound series ‘Forging a Connection’ with digital manipulation techniques. Tran Quynh Anh is constantly experimenting with new materials and chemigram techniques which also haven’t appeared in Vietnam before in her ‘23:59’ – a fascinating set of abstract photography works. Cietisoo Nguyen captures his process of going through great events of his life and expresses his inner feeling with the touching ‘Letter to Mom’ made in two years, with his surreal visual language. Finally, Tran Phuong Vu releases his first work ‘The Absurd’ using the Sabattier effect technique and is inspired by existentialism from philosopher Albert Camus’s point of view.

Opening reception is going to take place at 5pm, November 22nd 2020 at Mai Gallery, 113 Hàng Bông and the show will continue until December 12th. Free entrance.

Noirfoto Darkroom-Studio-Gallery, founded in 2017, is a specialized space for the art of photography equipped with the best and only open professional darkroom in Vietnam. Noirfoto strives to nurture the local photography industry by researching and developing analogue techniques, organizing exhibitions for photographers, activities such as talks, lectures and workshops about photography for all levels, sharing information and knowledge about photography in and out of the country.

Mai Gallery, founded in 1993, is the first private art gallery in Hanoi after Đổi Mới. Rooted in a proud intellectual tradition and surrounded by contemporary cultural flows, Mai has been a natural addition to the domestic art scene. Working with many avant-garde faces of the first generation of Vietnamese contemporary artists and always supporting young artists, Mai Gallery holds a special position in the heart of both artists and art lovers.

For further information please contact: [email protected]

The artists and artworks

Phạm Tuấn Ngọc is a photography artist, an analogue printer, the founder of Noirfoto Darkroom–Gallery–Studio, and a photography consultant. Ngọc dedicates to in–depth study and practicing of images creating and printing techniques from the early days of photography (19th and early 20th century), using manual methods. His practice is based on the belief in the art, historic, conservative, scientific and cultural values of traditional photography, and the values of craftsmanship and knowledge accumulation, especially in the era of digital.

This time, in his 6th group exhibition, Ngọc brings in the ‘Chloris’ including works that have never been released before. He used lumen print for this series. Chlroris is the Greek Goddess of Flower since 3 millenniums ago. The photos are not created with a camera or printing device but from real flowers. The flowers in Ngọc’s works created the image of themselves under the sunlight, along with the heat, the humidity, and the unique characteristics of the flowers on the silver chloride coated photographic paper. the spirit of the flower leaves their ephemeral petals to reincarnate into the photographic paper and becomes immortal. Each embodiment is therefore unique.

Bạch Nam Hải (Danny Bach) is a professional photographer, an international printing specialist, and the founder of Hoa Ta with many brands to promote photography of Vietnam and traditional calligraphy and painting. He graduated in Photo Imaging in Australia, with a special reward for best book of documentary photos. When he came back to Vietnam in 2014, he became a contributor to Forbes Vietnam and specialized in portrait photography for important people.

In this ‘Salon of Light’, Hải shows ‘The Vietnam I want to keep’ which is the sequel to ‘Goodman’s Fortune’ appeared in the Noirfoto Group Show in July 2020 in HCMC. For Hai, photos are a form of storing memories to transcend the “temporariness” of all things – because everything will change, familiar things will become foreign. Through his works, he uses his very own rich photographic language to emphasize and preserve the true and pure beauty and the typical traits of the scenes, the activities, and the culture of Vietnamese people.

Trần Lê Quỳnh Anh, a female new photographer returned from New Zealand after graduating from the International School of Art and Creativity in Wellington. She aims to use a wide range of techniques and materials in her art practice, creating works known as visual metaphors that are perceived to be feminine and delicate by some and confused and disturbed by others. Quỳnh Anh’s works have been exhibited at Odlin Gallery and Inspired Art Gallery in Wellington, NZ, and featured in the magazine Sisterhood.

Quỳnh Anh joined ‘Salon of Light’ with her unique ‘23:59’ series. She uses ‘chemigram’ – “paint with chemicals on light-sensitive paper” – combining image creating techniques on light-sensitive photographic papers, experimenting with a variety of chemicals and objects. The result is mesmerizing, singular and representational works, inspired by the operation of the clock which both moves forward and repeats itself, creating cycles of transitions.

Nguyễn Quang Bách was born in Hanoi. After graduating in Photography and Video from the School of Visual Arts, New York in 2018, he returned to Vietnam to live and work. He uses photography as a tool to learn about Vietnamese culture and customs so he can shape his own personal Vietnam. For a long time, he lived and visited many cities in all three parts of Vietnam to learn more about the culture. Currently, he is interested in the spiritual life and people’s attitude towards spiritual activities because it is one of the main factors that make up all the regional cultures.

Bach’s ‘Forging a Connection’ photo series continues his journey to explore the relationship between people and the spirit that has been shown in previous exhibitions. He observed that the colorfulness and the liveliness of spiritual rituals were the common point of the cultures of the three regions in Vietnam. Bach considers his photos as footprints on his quest for another realm where he and his deceased loved ones can “meet” and “carry” things they could not have while on Earth. With realistic images and digital manipulation techniques, he created that fantasy realm.

Cietisoo Nguyen (Nguyen Huu Nguyen) exploits digital photography not only as a tool but also as a material to create images that reflect the fluctuations of his inner world, keeping his spirit in balance, and satisfy his desire to be free. After finishing 2 years of photography training in Australia and coming back to Vietnam, since 2018, Cietisoo Nguyen has actively participated in Photography activities in Ho Chi Minh City, including the group exhibition “Machine is Nature” at the Factory Contemporary Arts Centre and the personal exhibition “Vi Tế” at Noir Gallery.

‘Letter to Mom’ appearing at the Salon of Light that expresses and shares his innerworld is also a way for Cietisoo to restore himself and orient his growth. This series captures the process of experiencing the great events of his life in his own abstract visual language; from the “beginning” to the “end” point, it’s over two years. The end of his “letter” is the deepest thing he wants to send to his mother, that “Mom, don’t worry, I’ll be fine!”.

Trần Phương Vũ is studying Fashion Media Practices and Criticism at the University of Arts London. Vu is concerned with the impact of art towards the individual and society, and Vu always strives to intrigue a generation of unique and creative thinking.

In his debut work ‘the Absurd’, Vu wants to use photography language to create surreal images. He uses the theme of flower macro photography, which is supposed to be popular among photographers, but incorporates the Sabattier effect technique, which is very rare in Vietnam. Thereby, he expressed his reflection on ‘the absurd’ from the point of view of the existentialist philosopher Albert Camus.

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