'Hanoi Thunder', an etchings exhibition

March 11, 2023 - 10:49
An exhibition of etchings by a London artist shows Hà Nội frenetic cityscape.

HÀ NỘI — An exhibition of etchings by a London artist shows Hà Nội frenetic cityscape.

Entitled Hanoi Thunder, the gallery show serves as a retrospective of Simon Redington’s etchings. His collection of Hà Nội urban scenes, which are entangled and overlaid with landmark symbolism lead the exhibition.

Simon Redington (centre) makes a speech at his exhibition. VNS Photo Tường Vân

Redington told Việt Nam News that “Hà Nội was a very different place than it is today. It was a town, now it is a big city. And I would like to say it’s quite easy to put up a town of blocks, quite hard to replace a thousand years of culture.”

Redington came to live in Hà Nội 25 years ago. Hà Nội became his muse and his work since has often focused on a dialogue with the city itself.

He took five years wandering around talking with people, going to festivals to search for the meaning of these particular images.

“It is a very profound thing for me and I was trying to find the source, the meaning of those things,” he said.

'Văn hoá Cafe' ('Cafe Society, 2013)

The exhibition has been delayed twice.

Hanoi Thunder was completed in 2017 and obviously with the global event it hasn't made it out into any kind of exhibition status. Redington has worked a long time for this,” said Claire Driscoll, head of the organisers.

This body of work is displayed alongside prints from his earlier epic portfolio The Ten Kings of the Courts of Hell, first shown in Hà Nội in 2002 at Art Vietnam. These two series are supplemented by single standalone etchings from throughout his print career.

Trịnh Lữ, a 75-year-old artist, said: “I was particularly struck by the work Thập Điện Diêm Vương (The Ten Kings of the Courts of Hell). He has shown his profound understanding of Vietnamese culture and religion. I could see that he has a lot of respect for our country as he put his art in a very well-preserved place. It shows that he is completely enamoured with our heritage. This is also a way to facilitate cultural exchange.”

'Thất Điện của Thái Sơn Vương' ('The Seventh Court of Thái Sơn', 2002)

Redington takes inspiration as he says “from the masterful etchings of Rembrandt, the visionary illuminations of William Blake and the merciless insights of Goya”.

The event had a lot of attendees on the first day.

“The artworks here are just purely black and white. The works may be a bit overwhelming at first but if you take more time to look at it, you might find it truly fascinating.” Trịnh Thuỳ Linh, 23, said.

Jane Pryor, an Australian visitor, said: “I like the picture of the landscape of buildings of Hà Nội. I find the buildings and the streets in Hà Nội are interesting and very different from our city.”

The exhibition is open until March 21, from 9.30am - 7pm at Work Room Four Studio, No 31, Alley 67, Tô Ngọc Vân Street, Hà Nội. VNS