The Ministry of Artistic Affairs
Friday, September 2, 2011

Drawn from Greg Girard’s recent publication Hanoi Calling: One Thousand Years Now, this exhibition of photographs at Monte Clark Gallery in Toronto continues to stake out his role as a discerning camera eye on Asia’s developing economies.

As with his earlier Shanghai pictures, the new work shows the overlapping spaces and architectures of a burgeoning city in the process of bridging its millennium-old past with the 21st century. Currently, the city is undergoing a boom, with Hanoi and its six million people seeing the intense arrival of manufacturing and service industries that have spilled over from development in China. In his photos, Girard shows us a quiet nighttime Hanoi where messy urban pieces come together under a seductive, and often colourful, light that lends an exotic, almost tropical dimension to the images. The makeshift openness of workshops, cafés and apartments shape dense street scenes with a lingering, if generally unseen, human energy that lifts the photographs from a pure documentary function into being more like impressions of lived experience.

Girard’s Hanoi sleeps, but it is very much alive.

By Rick Rhodes for Canadian Art.