ART OF THE MAT­TER

A trio of ven­tures are hon­ing Hanoi’s cre­ative edge

DestinAsian - - ART SCENE - BY ELIS­A­BETH ROSEN

With a thou­sand years of his­tory be­hind it, Hanoi is Viet­nam’s undis­puted cul­tural cap­i­tal. But the city of­fers far more than the stan­dard cir­cuit of tra­di­tional en­ter­tain­ments (wa­ter-pup­pet shows, any­one?) and con­tem­po­rary art gal­leries. Spurred on by a crowd of young ex­pats and tal­ented lo­cals, a small but in­de­pen­dent arts scene is flour­ish­ing. Here are three venues on the city’s cre­ative cut­ting edge. —MANZI“We wanted to have a place that’s not just an artsy café, but an art café,” says artist and univer­sity lec­turer Bill Nguyen, one of the minds be­hind Manzi, which de­buted late last year on a quiet lane near Hanoi’s old Hang Dau wa­ter tower. Pen­cil sketches by Le Quang Ha, one of Viet­nam’s best-known con­tem­po­rary artists, line the white­washed walls of the 1920s colo­nial villa, where a down­stairs bar pours a sig­na­ture vodka with fresh kumquat and sweet chili, and an up­stairs ex­hi­bi­tion space fea­tures well-priced works by emerg­ing

lo­cal tal­ents. This sum­mer, the spot­light is on 37-yearold Nguyen Manh Hung, a Hanoi-born sculp­tor and pain­ter known for his light­hearted so­cial crit­i­cism. Monthly con­certs show­case mu­si­cians such as Tri Minh (the DJ be­hind Hanoi’s first mu­sic fes­ti­val) and Le Cat TrongLy, a folk singer who has been hailed as the John Len­non of Viet­nam. Manzi’s founders also plan to screen ex­per­i­men­tal doc­u­men­taries in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Hanoi DocLab ( 14 Phan Huy Ich; 84-4/3716-3397). —THE HANOI BI­CY­CLE COL­LEC­TIVE You don’t need to be a cy­cler to ap­pre­ci­ate this twoyear-old bike shop-cum-cre­ative space. Run by Barcelona na­tive Guim Valls Teruel, the venue has hosted the spo­ken-word se­ries Noi Hanoi and or­ga­nizes World Mu­sic Sun­days, a weekly ro­ta­tion of live per­for­mances from an eclec­tic ar­ray of gen­res. Decked out with soft wicker lamps and wall-mounted bi­cy­cles un­der a ceil­ing draped in bil­low­ing silk, the nar­row tube house also sports a con­vivial ground­floor café, Gin & Bread, that serves tapas, sal­ads, po­tent cock­tails, and bo­cata baguette sand­wiches to help you pass the time. Up­stairs is a gallery space that is cur­rently dis­play­ing a por­trait se­ries pho­tographed by Teruel (a for­mer the­ater di­rec­tor and graphic de­signer) in Bei­jing and south­ern China. “Ar­tis­ti­cally speak­ing, Hanoi is ready to ex­plode,” Teruel says. “But like any place, it just needs to find the right mo­ment” ( 44 Ngo 31, Xuan Dieu; 844/3718-8246; thbc.vn). —TA­DIOTO Climb the dusty stairs of a once derelict Soviet-era phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­plex called Zone 9, and you’ll find a gallery and bar where pho­to­graphs punc­tu­ate ex­posed con­crete walls. In ad­di­tion to show­ing vis­ual art, Ta­dioto, which moved into this space in June, hosts po­etry read­ings, con­certs by un­der-ther­adar mu­si­cians, and film nights fea­tur­ing ex­per­i­men­tal videog­ra­pher Trinh Thi and avant-garde com­poser and pi­anist Kim Ngoc. An­other room show­cases un­con­ven­tional ap­parel, decor items, and leather bags. Owner Nguyen Qui Duc, a jour­nal­ist and cu­ra­tor, says of the works shown at his al­ter­na­tive arts space, “The days of state con­trol of art are pretty much done. Artists can ex­press things now that they never could in the past.” Be­fore leav­ing, stop by Work Room Four, a nearby ate­lier that houses stu­dios and ex­hi­bi­tion ar­eas. As at Ta­dioto, bare walls pro­vide a back­drop for ex­per­i­men­tal sculp­tures and in­stal­la­tions ( 2/F, Bldg. A, 9 Tran Thanh Tong; 84-4/66809124; ta­dioto.com).

CAFÉ CUL­TURE Cock­tail hour at Manzi, which hosts art ex­hi­bi­tions and film screen­ings in a

re­vamped 1920s villa. Op­po­site: The café at the Hanoi Bi­cy­cle Col­lec­tive.

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