There’s no place like home for alienated photographer
Are you depressed yet? With The Fragrance of Flowers, Long wants to make people think about love and separation.
HA NOI — Feelings of homelessness, dislocation and alienation underscore an exhibit by globe-travelling Vietnamese photographer Thanh Long now on display in Ha Noi.
In Homeless at Home, which opened last Friday at the Goethe Institute, Thanh Long presents a wide cross-section of his work for the first time in Viet Nam.
The images come from three major series from 2002-07: Haffburg, a series of photographs of people living on the periphery of German society, The Fragrance of Flowers, a very delicate collection of images on the theme of love and separation, and finally, Mirror Images, a string of self portraits.
According to Franz Xaver Augustin, the Goethe Institute’s director, what unifies these apparently very disparate works is the artist’s perspective as someone who belongs to two words. The common denominator in his work is a search for the self in an alien environment.
The 26-year-old photographer’s images are poetic attempts to establish a space in which potential feelings of anonymous homelessness and dispossession are fractured by sympathy, compassion and humanity, Augustin said.
Long is among the most successful of a group of young Vietnamese artists who were raised and studied in Germany. Born in 1981 in Ha Long Bay, he emigrated to Mecklenburg at the age of 10. He studied with famous photographers, designers and media artists in Schwrin and Leipzig. He is co-founder of the young avant-garde group Absage An Die Wirklichkeit (roughly, Denial Of Reality) and their very unconventional definition of the medium of photography. His work is represented in several prominent public collections in Europe.
Long splits his time freelancing near the Baltic Sea, in Leipzig and in Ha Long Bay.
The Ha Noi exhibit runs until April 8 at the Goethe Institute, 56-58 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street. — VNS