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Clarity of Seeing, Fantasy of Interpretation

The Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Martinsried will show around 30 photographs by Michael Nguyen in an exhibition from 24.10. - 09.12.2022. Martinsried is one of the two science suburbs of Munich, a district of the municipality of Planegg in the district of Munich in Bavaria. The exhibition, which take place in the foyer of the Institute, “build a bridge between science and arts”. The exhibition shows works from 2020 - 2022. Michael Nguyen shows architectural objects, plays of light and shadow, reflections and architectures captured in various cities across Europe.

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The Hague
Detail of the colourful metal entrance gates to the Dutch Ministry of Finance.
Photo © Michael Nguyen/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Clarity of Seeing, Fantasy of Interpretation

Today, artistic photography moves quite differently than it did just a few decades ago as a visual force and communicative intervention in the midst of an overflowing glut of images, whose production, management, and dissemination have long since gotten out of hand with conscientious control. After film, television, and computers, the smartphone in particular has catapulted us into a new image age. Often the challenge is to give the eyes an occasion to linger between their unsteady jumps from image to image. Michael Nguyen succeeds exquisitely in creating such an occasion with his photographs by creating clarity in seeing and challenge in interpretation through reduction and pointing.

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Düsseldorf
The Neue Zollhof is an ensemble of buildings in Düsseldorf's Media Harbor. The buildings are named after their creator, the Canadian-US architect and designer, Frank Owen Gehry, also known as the Gehry Buildings. The image shows House A which is completely clinkered.
Photo © Michael Nguyen/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

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Düsseldorf
The Neue Zollhof is an ensemble of buildings in Düsseldorf's Media Harbor. The buildings are named after their creator, the Canadian-US architect and designer, Frank Owen Gehry, also known as the Gehry Buildings. The image shows House C which is white plastered and has a nested building volume with large-format curves.
Photo © Michael Nguyen/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Michael Nguyen is a flâneur. On foot, he seeks the encounter worth seeing in detail. His photographs show us buildings, streets, staircases, vehicles, and people of the kind that we might encounter at any time by chance in our everyday lives. The pictures confront us with single views of elements, focus their colors and forms in detail, and leave aside the manifold abundance of the surrounding. In this way, the images unfold a power of the particular: Something like this, but exactly how we haven't seen things before.

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Düsseldorf
Architecture in Düsseldorf's Media Harbor. On the right, the colorful facade of the 16-story INSIDE Hotel
Photo © Michael Nguyen/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Nguyen likes to play with the seduction of the geometric, the regular, and the symmetrical. We find this everywhere as a testimony to the constructive power of a design oriented towards the ideal. Perfection is thus assumed, as is also the case with the impressively harmonized light and color gradients or surface textures. At the same time, the viewer is placed in an ideal position from which interest in what is depicted can unfold.

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Saarbrücken
Reflections of buildings in a window.
Photo © Michael Nguyen/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

On the other hand, we are stimulated to let our imagination roam based on what is shown. For in the stylization we find numerous occasions to associate moods and longings. This is especially the case when people are seen in their appearance detached from movement. The contrast to the extraordinary view of their surroundings plays a special role. Whoever gets involved with the pictures of Michael Nguyen will in any case experience an enrichment: the special in the incidental.

Text written by 
Prof. Dr. phil. Rainer Funke | Professor of Design Theory, Potsdam

Overview of Photography meets Science

Date10/24〜12/09/2022
Opening hours
  • Mon-Fri 08.00 - 00.00
  • Sat, Sun & public holidays 08.00 - 20.00
PlaceMax Planck Institute of Biochemistry
AddressAm Klopferspitz 18
D- 82152 Martinsried (Munich)

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