In the midst of mirages

by Duy Phương

03.08.2022 | 31.08.2022

Duy Phương is an artist who is able to capture and archive the dynamics and changes in Vietnam. The spectrum of Duy Phương’s vision is not only limited to the landscape but also its sensibility can grasp socio-cultural issues. Through Duy Phương’s works, he adds another point of view on seeing juxtapositions, struggles, solitude and loneliness. “In the midst of mirages” is a show that combines Duy Phuong's two long-term photography projects, “Volatile States” (2010 - 2017) and “Mirages” (2017 - 2022).

This show is supported by French Institute in Vietnam and Photo Hanoi.

About “Volatile States” (2010 - 2017) and “Mirages” (2017 - 2022)

(**) All around us, our landscape is changing. As globalization casts its spores over Vietnam, its cities face the threat of losing their individuality. Destruction shadows the course of construction; upheavals accompany installations, and buildings blossom overnight. The incessant transformation of our environment results in the formation of new landscapes, extending far beyond the city limits. While this fills some hearts with hope, it fills others with grief and uncertainty. With the creation of new buildings, traditional architecture and tight-knit communal spaces are becoming relics of a time that is now rapidly receding into the past. Empty fields now serve as a breeding ground for new apartment blocks. In this modern vertical living, we become detached in our own private boxes, isolating ourselves from other people and distancing ourselves yet further from nature.

Alongside the alterations in the landscape, sentiments and attitudes are also undergoing dramatic change in Vietnam, as people are gradually beginning to free themselves from the traditions and social norms that have persisted for generations. With the emergence of new status symbols and cultural reference points, people are left in limbo between doubt and confidence.

Volatile States reflects the direction modern society is taking in Vietnam, as it vies to keep up with the rest of the world. It highlights juxtapositions and struggles that exist between old and new, the natural and the man-made. In a world that is becoming increasingly detached, this project questions the consequences this might bring.

(**) Inspired by the works of Todd Hido and Richard Prince

For many young people living in cities, the lavish lifestyle is a near-obsession—fuelled by an insatiable, consumerist society—and the posters encapsulate their dreams perfectly.

Illuminated at night, the scenes of the new buildings take on a different appearance. Filled with a sense of solitude and loneliness, they become mirages hovering just beyond reach, enticing us deeper into a futile pursuit for perfection.

From the series Mirages for which Duy Phuong drove his Minsk motorbike from South to North many times from 2017 to 2022 around Vietnam and captured photos at night. Most of the works were taken in natural light from the street and almost without post-production.

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