A Folktale From Vietnam: Speeding Motorcycles and Roasted Lemongrass is the result of eight years of research and the production of a series of photographs taken in 2013, 2015 and 2018 during Gianpaolo Arena’s travels through Vietnam.
Both the photographs and the essays examine the complex bond between landscape and human civilization. In this sprawling sequence of urban growth, places and portraits we find continual antitheses of periods and customs that sometimes clash, at others meld. This project captures fragments of different rituals and ways of life of the contemporary Vietnamese society. The author offer a glimpse of Vietnam’s present and future cities between time and decay, culture and capitalism, folklore and propaganda.
Gianpaolo Arena (1975, Italy) conducts research projects into environmental, documentary, and social topics. His work employ landscape and portraiture as a means to examine the representation of anthropized spaces and the sustainability of the contemporary towns.
Since 2010, he has edited the international photography magazine Landscape Stories, and organized workshops and publishing and exhibition projects. He is co-founder of CALAMITA/À (2013-ongoing). He has written texts for monographs, catalogues, and exhibitions, including: Carlos Casas, Vespers & Madrigals; Raimond Wouda, Céline Clanet and Jan Stradtmann: 1 km; Joël Tettamanti, Past, Present and Future; Karen Knorr, Olivier Richon and Andreas Weinand, Youth Codes. In 2016 he was nominated to be one of the curators of the Venice Pavilion for the Architecture Biennale.
Design: Chiara Capodici
Foreword: Gianpaolo Arena
Essays: Francesco Bergamo, Simona Galateo, Fabio Severo