Public, Private, Secret

Công cộng, Riêng tư, Thầm kín

by Nguyễn Phương and Joseph Gobin

at L’Éspace 24 Trang Tien, Hanoi

Life on pavement is deeply rooted in Vietnamese culture. The scene of makeshift tea-stalls set up haphazardly on the sidewalk, completely separate from the bustling pace of life, constantly intrigue Joseph Gobin. With six rolls of outdated 120 film, he made the decision to take pictures of this unique communal living area. But rather than looking at them through a nostalgic lens, the pavement culture in Joseph’s images seems to go hand in hand with how the times are changing. There, the patchwork and ornamentation combine to create a space that is both private and public, closed and open, and full of the traits of modern Vietnamese society—particularly in big cities.

On the other hand, Nguyen Phuong delves deeper into exploring his own chaotic thoughts. He feels out of place in the midst of urban prosperity, where pollution is evident but deceptively disguised beneath a veneer of ostentatious luxury. Pollution originates not just from human disregard for the environment, as demonstrated by the photographer’s technique, but also from within each individual, as the struggle for survival gradually distorts moral values.

The two sets of photos seem to be different, but when placed side by side, they paint a city that is both open, private, and embodying the personal sentiments of each author.

The exhibition was brought alive thanks to the support from Institut français de Hanoi.