Galerie Richard is pleased to present the “Halong Series” by Dionisio González. The artist takes on the role of
both photographer and architect by digitally urbanizing the free waters surrounding the Vietnamese islands in
Halong Bay. The result is a surreal marine city featuring a mix of ordinary boathouses with modernist
architecture. The exhibition opens Thursday, September 5th, with a public reception taking place on
September 12th from 6-8 pm.
The series emphasizes the possible transformations because of mass tourism on the picturesque Vietnamese
locale. By inserting marine slums made up of intricately designed boats, González places the inhabitants in the
optimal position to enjoy their own landscape. The new modernist constructions suggest a foreign influence
without completely disrupting the original cultural element unique to Vietnam. The manipulations offer a
renewed identity to Halong, not one marked by isolation as a protected untouched destination but rather as an
active place connected with the rest of the world. Each house is attributed with a distinctive identity reflective of
the occupants. This particularity along with the diverse architectures defies the usual idea of urban
development. The way of life depicted in these photographs is merely witnessed from a voyeuristic
perspective, thus the viewer is relegated to the role of a foreigner. While the lack of familiarity prevents the full
empathization with this culture, it reveals a sense of wonder through the process of discovery. The suggestion
of cross-cultural fusion does not generate a feeling of home, rather a longing to get closer.
Michel Foucault considered a boat to be the prime example of a Heterotopia. Defined as a physical localization
of the Utopia, a Heterotopia is a concrete space that inhabits the imaginary. Dionisio González, like Le
Corbusier with his unrealized drawings projects, proposes a visualization of this concept. The particular
response to overpopulation, by proposing a socially diverse marine city complete with beautiful views shared
by all, derives from a utopian perspective. Each house is a private paradise island with the ability to move
freely within the society as well as beyond. The inhabitants of these slum houses and foreign modernistic
architectures can be considered as whole populations outside of society. The desire to evolve and stay current
with technological advances remains and is evident in the inhabitants’ homes that feature rendered
architectural outbursts. Manifested through the organic forms of the structural interpolations are the residents’
aspirations for change and continuous growth. In these images, the juxtaposition of the two architectures
suggests a rupture in time. A heterotopia can open or close itself, which makes it both accessible and isolated.
The Heterotopias fill a function in relation with other spaces of societies as spaces of illusion or of perfection.
González respectfully crafts and integrates alternative survival strategies into the modest amphibian living
conditions. The solutions envisioned in the manipulations expose an anarchic potential that is equally imposing
Dionisio González (Gijón, 1965) is senior lecturer at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Universidad de Sevilla. His
works are represented in prominent collections such as the Centre National d'Art et de Culture Georges-
Pompidou in Paris, the ING Art Collection in Amsterdam, and the Margulies Collection at The Warehouse in
Miami. His work has been exhibited in multiple institutions and museums such as the Museum of
Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía de Madrid
(MNCARS), the Museu de Arte de São Paulo or the Toronto Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art. He has
received numerous awards such as the Premio Pilar Juncosa and Sotheby’s from the Fundació Pilar y Joan
Miró and the European Photography Arendt Award in 2013.
For further information, please contact Robert M. Berry at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-510-8181.