Michael Nguyen: By the Roadside

Michael Nguyen is a flâneur. He seeks encounters with what is worth seeing in detail. His photographs show us buildings, streets, staircases, vehicles, and people of the kind we might come across at any time by chance in our everyday lives.

The pictures confront us with unique views of elements. They focus on the colors and shapes in detail and leave aside the manifold abundance of the surroundings. In this way, they unfold the power of the Particular: Something familiar, but exactly like this we have not seen things before.

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Nguyen likes to play with the seduction of the geometric, the regular, the symmetrical. We find this everywhere as evidence of the constructive power of a design-oriented towards the ideal. Perfection is thus assumed, as is 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.

On the other hand, we are stimulated to let our imagination roam based on what is shown. Because in the stylization we find numerous occasions to associate moods and longings. This is particularly the case where people's appearance is detached from movement. The contrast with the extraordinary view of their surroundings plays an important role. All in all: anyone who gets involved with Michael Nguyen's pictures will experience enrichment.

Text by Dr. Rainer Funke

About Michael Nguyen

Nguyen says about his photo series: "If we walk with open eyes, we can see interesting, beautiful, but also ugly things on the roadside every day. And if we look at the things around us not only with open eyes, but also with an open heart and mind, we will discover a world that is otherwise closed to us: Sometimes spectacular. Sometimes ordinary, but surprisingly wondrous. Whether it's a view of a modern building, a glimpse of a construction site, a riverbank, a bus stop, or simply a footprint someone has left on the opposite side of the pavement." For journalist Christine Cless-Wesle of the daily Münchner Merkur, Nguyen is "Gauting's good eye". 

Michael Nguyen accompanies us on small journeys through places in Germany, Austria, Italy and elsewhere to discover where the random walk might take us." Nguyen roamed through various cities during the Corona pandemic. One focus of his work is urban landscapes, often urban spaces left fallow due to lack of interaction, especially during the time of the pandemic. Michael Nguyen conveys this sensitively. With a lot of heart and soul, Nguyen approaches his motifs and makes the city with its landscape and architecture visible, showing a reality that we all know but often do not perceive in everyday life. One area of his art, architectural photography, has exclusively an artistic function for Nguyen, which deviates strongly from reality through digital image processing and allows for a different interpretation. "Most of the photos could only be taken because Nguyen has a special eye for his surroundings and gives even everyday things a second look." Blanche Mamer / Süddeutsche Zeitung

Michael Nguyen is a photo artist and photo poet. He has lived in Gauting near Munich since 2015. After a long break in the culture industry, he has been devoting himself entirely to art again since 2018. He moves away from the mainstream and blurs genres in the process. He focuses on seemingly everyday things, giving them a new perspective and a new soul through a subjective lens. In 2021, Nguyen was awarded the Günther-Klinge-Culture Prize by the municipality of Gauting for special achievements in the field of photography. In addition to his artistic activities, Michael Nguyen is editor-in-chief of TAGREE, an online magazine for photography & art.

"By the Roadside" INFO

PeriodMarch 8, 2022 - May 5, 2022
AddressBürger- und Kulturhaus Gauting Theaterforum Gauting e.V. Oberer Kirchenweg 1 D-82131 Gauting