The Project Room, curated by Damarice AMAO, presents the work of photographer and visual artist Nicola Bertasi Like Rain Falling from the Sky.
Because of its duration, intensity and ensuing media feeding frenzy, the Vietnam War (1961–1975) deeply impacted post-WWII visual imagery. As soon as it was over, the conflict lingered as a reflection of the tensions of the geopolitical context—the Cold War, the decolonization process, globalization—but also as a reflection of the identity crisis of the United States, symbolically represented by its Vietnam veterans, the tragic heroes that continue to haunt the Hollywood television and cinema industry.
We thus have the impression of having seen, heard and experienced everything about Vietnam, mixing up films, memories of news items and media icons. Trying to move past this imagery where reality and fiction are tangled together, Nicola Bertasi’s Like Rain Falling from the Sky attempts to draw a new visual cartography of memory, articulating the past and present of a conflict that has forever marked the Vietnamese lands and bodies.
In quite an opposite direction com- pared to the shock imagery of traditional photo-reportage, Nicola Bertasi allows for the extended time necessary for a documentary enquiry and an introspective journey. Forefronting the faces and voices of those involved in the conflict, all too often forced to hold their silence, against the background of a collage of archive documents, Bertasi builds a sensitive, poetic and personal photographic tale as an alternative to the impasse of the mainstream historical narration.
At the same time a detective, historian and wandering photographer, Bertasi sets off on his journey through the theaters of the Vietnamese conflict from a necessarily subjective point of view. This exploration of memory rekindles the embers of his own family history, one also shaped by war a long time before Vietnam.