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Michael Nguyen
Michael Nguyen
Michael Nguyen

Michael Nguyen

Country: Germany
Birth: 1958

Michael Nguyen is a photo artist and documentary photographer living near Munich, Germany. He takes photographs since 1988. He has been living in Munich since 2007 and moved to Gauting near Munich in 2015. After a long break in the cultural sector and after a sickness he has dedicated himself 2018 entirely to art again. He is an artist and a photographic poet who moves away from the mainstream, at the same time blurs genres. Most of the time, he focuses on small, ordinary things but through the subjective lens, he give them new perspectives, a new soul.

I found my way to photography when I was a journalist for art and culture. One of my main subjects was "Greece", and there was a lot to do with photography. Then, in close cooperation with Dr. Matthias Harder (now Director of the Helmut Newton Foundation, Berlin), we laid the foundation for understanding the photographs of Herbert List and Walter Hege. Since then, photography has opened up a whole new world to me.

Michael Nguyen roamed various cities in Bavaria during the Corona pandemic. A focus of his works since COVID-19 are urban landscapes as well as urban spaces in different cities. Urban spaces can all enrich a life between buildings. Since Covid-19, social interaction in the Urban landscapes with their spaces has lain fallow. Michael Nguyen conveys this sensitively in his mostly "deserted pictures“. Nguyen enters the motifs of his urban landscapes with a great deal of empathy. He makes the city, urban landscapes and architecture visible and documents them for posterity. With his artistic documentary photography he refers to a reality that we all know, but interprets this reality with his images.

Everywhere I go, my eyes and senses are in motion. With my camera I capture little things that we often don't notice in everyday life.

At the BIFA Budapest International Foto Awards 2020 his artwork "Antimatter" was awarded in December 2020 with Gold. In addition to his artistic activities, Michael Nguyen is in Editor-in-chief of the online magazine for photography and art: Tagree.

End of March 2021 Michael Nguyen is nominated for the Tassilo Culture Prize of the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) is a German national daily newspaper. It is published in Munich. SZ is the second largest daily newspaper in Germany (as of October 2020). Promoting the cultural sector in the Munich area and motivating creative artists (these are the goals of the Tassilo Culture Prize), which the Süddeutsche Zeitung is offering for the eleventh time this year. The SZ Prize is named after the Bavarian Duke Tassilo.

Statement
Our head is round so that thinking can change direction - a sentence by the writer and artist Francis Picabia, who inspired me as a young man interested in art and the art scene. Art broadened my perspectives and saved my soul. In the 1980s and 1990s I was a journalist, poet, photographer and event manager. After almost two decades, I found my way back to art in the dark times of my life in early 2018. Yes, once again art has saved my soul. Everywhere I go, my eyes and senses are in motion. With my camera I capture little things that we often don't notice in everyday life.


The power of design and the contradictions between art and life
Munich's most colorful shopping center facade by Prof. Dr. Rainer Funke

When will the containers be loaded? Such a question comes to mind when approaching the shopping mall built in 2008 from a distance. But stop! The intense colors of the seemingly stacked cubes and their sophisticated composition immediately give rise to other associations. As if someone had created a special order out of building blocks. One wonders whether this is already the perfect final state, as one tries to create with the Magic Cube, for example.

The variety of combinations seems too great for this. Both that of the colors and that of the surface structures. Added to this are the manifold reflections and the astonishing visual dynamics. One does not seem to move past the building itself, but its facades begin to run, to turn, to flow. One is almost reminded of the dancing of the facades and interiors of baroque courtly buildings in downtown Munich. Instead of baroque figurativeness, however, here it is geometry.

The closer one gets, the more details become visible. No, these are neither containers nor building blocks. The prismatic shape of the colored and reflective metal plates gives the building shell pronounced plasticity. One would not have expected so much sophistication from a shopping center, especially not here, where Munich hardly has anything typically Munich anymore and is fraying into the landscape.

Whether red voluptuousness with bold blue, pastel sweetness, noble gold, lush, or pale green: the overwhelming power of color is, of course, the basic theme of the series of images, always in powerfully soaring, a contrast-rich vertical sequence of seemingly endless parallels.

Michael Nguyen's imposing photographs take us very close to this color organ. They make us stand at attention on the parade ground of the verticals. Especially the severity of the composition in detail becomes a theme.

This gesture appears once again mercilessly emphasized by Nguyen's camera, as refractions and disturbances emerge from close up. Two framed, square blue lockers, for instance, according to their dimensions probably placed on a blue ground with metallic fittings not colored blue - the attempt to hide them has failed. Nguyen places them in the center. The wonderful striped pattern is disturbed in this way, less perfect and also a bit more lifelike. We experience something similar with the door locks (here the hinges additionally form a counter-rotating rhythm), the intercom, and the stickers on two other images. As a photographer, Michael Nguyen is as uninhibitedly consistent as the facades depicted want to be but cannot be in the storm of life and entropy.

The mirrored surfaces evoke almost poetic associations when nature and urban space gently and carefully combine in them (in one picture, the soft shapes of the snow remains are added). Here, too, Nguyen is provocative. One picture is intended to irritate through eight seemingly irregular horizontal cuts in the surrounding colour surfaces. And, of course, dirt and trash. Such a design focused on geometric color perfection is highly moralistic. It points its moral finger in full size at the viewers, admonishing us not to disturb order, to preserve perfection and cleanliness. When we then perceive small discarded things and in addition a dirty floor or even dirty facade surfaces, it hits us with full force. At the same time, we are referred to the particularity and artistic rapture of the facade. Even a traffic sign, placed somewhat askew and in turn, defaced with remnants of a sticker, emphasizes the distance of the art object from life. Even the clash of different grid dimensions of the facade strips and the paving of the sidewalk draws attention and distances. Here nothing has grown out of the ground, where it has been landed. This impression is further emphasized by the filigree grid structure of the surfaces pointing to the left.

If then still objects stand before the work of art, like a somewhat demolished container for the clothes collection, an ashtray (nevertheless in strict vertical-orthogonal high-grade steel form and exactly aligned), or admittedly color-coordinated garbage can one wished a ban mile for objects around the building. People appear in two photos. They make us breathe a sigh of relief: yes, the whole thing is made for people. The two people in a picture, shot somewhat voyeuristically behind a lamppost, could, however, already be a bit tighter, more upright, and perhaps defilade past the facade in step! The man with his shopping cart, on the other hand, seems to want to save himself from the austerity of the backdrop into the organic world of the leafy settlement.

In an impressive way, Michael Nguyen presents us with this photo series of a building as a work of art and thus points us to the power of design but also to the contradictions between art and life.

Prof. Dr. Rainer Funke researches and publishes on design-theoretical issues from a semiotic, cultural-theoretical and philosophical perspective and works as a design consultant for companies. He teaches design theory at the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences. After studying philosophy at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, he earned his doctorate in semiotics and subsequently worked in design-theoretical research at Burg Giebichenstein - University of Art and Design Halle. In 1992, he was appointed to Potsdam as the founding dean of the Department of Design. Rainer Funke was the owner of a design agency, chairman of the board of the Brandenburg Design Center, and visiting professor at the University of Art and Industrial Design Linz.

Design theory is supposed to motivate in an enlightening way by conveying methods for the analysis of design, especially for the manifold relations between perceptible forms of artifacts and their meanings in the context of the process of use. Design theory explicates modes of action and historically founded developmental relationships of design and their various influencing factors. (Prof. Dr. Rainer Funke)

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Jean-Daniel Lorieux
French artist, Jean-Daniel Lorieux, is one of the masters of photography of his generation, earning much respect in the realm of fashion photography. Jean-Daniel Lorieux, was born on January 21st 1937 in the 16e arrondissement of Paris. He is the great-grandson of Théodore-Marie Lorieux, vice-president of the Conseil Général des Ponts et Chaussées and Jules Goüin. He studied engineering with the Jesuits at "L'école Arts et Métiers" in Paris and then went to the "Cours Simon". (Theatre) He did his military service in Algeria alongside the spahis as a photographer/filmmaker - in charge of photographing the corpses of rebels slaughtered for identification in the region of Mostaganem. For a while he worked for the Studio Harcourt as an industrial photographer and he remembers it as being a real "photographic factory" with a Stakhanovite like tempo. He has been working as a photographer for twenty years with fashion magazines like Vogue and L'Officiel. He also worked with Andy Warhol at the Factory (Andy Warhol's New York City Studio). He launched the modeling career of Cécilia Ciganer-Albéniz (Future wife of Nicolas Sarkozy), who then became his assistant. Friend of Bernadette and Claude Chirac, he directed the poster campaign of Jacques Chirac, then Prime Minister, for the legislative elections of 1988. Lorieux worked for the advertising campaigns of Dior, Lanvin, Rabanne, Ricci, Céline and Cardin, among others. He photographed many personalities like Jacques Chirac, Nelson Mandela, Mohamed V, Frank Sinatra, James Brown, Charles Aznavour, David Lynch, Isabelle Adjani, Claudia Cardinale, Carla Bruni, Karen Mulder, Claudia Schiffer, Linda Evangelista, Milla Jovovich... In 2008, he worked on an exhibition on the theme "The Master and Marguerite" at the request of Russian billionaire Yevgeny Iakovlev, with Isabelle Adjani as Marguerite. He has also released a series of books and a documentary film, retracing the atypical path of the artist and his creative pursuits. In addition to photographic creations, Jean-Daniel Lorieux produces films and paintings that parallel his distinctive style of photography, making use of sharp lines, bold colors, and his signature highly contrasted visual compositions. His work has been exhibited worldwide but mostly in the United States and in Europe. He is also a Knight of the Order of the Arts and Letters (1997), a knight of the Legion d'Honneur (2003) and decorated of the Maintien de l'ordre for spending two years in Algeria during the war.
Elizabeth Bourne
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I describe myself as an artist using a camera rather than as a photographer since I am more concerned with creating an emotional connection with the viewer rather than technical perfection. After living most of my life in the Pacific Northwest, I went to Greenland in 2017 and everything changed. I fell in love with the high arctic. In 2018 I had artist residencies in both Svalbard and Iceland. In 2019, at a time when most people my age are thinking about retirement and grandchildren, I packed seven suitcases, and moved to Longyearbyen. Now I live in the world's northernmost town on the archipelago of Svalbard. I work almost exclusively in the arctic. My work, both painting and photography, have been exhibited nationally and internationally. In 2019 I was honored to receive the Vision Excellence Award from the Miami Photography Center during Art Basel Miami for best work in a series. Svalbard: Land without Borders which is an ongoing project. My work has been collected by Adobe, Corel Draw, and the City of Seattle. About the work: In the arctic, glaciers ten thousand years old rise in shimmering cliffs of light. These ice rivers calve towering icebergs with life spans of only two years. The paleocrystic beauty of the high arctic is as rich as any Tahitian sunset. There is a struggle between those who would exploit the arctic, and those who would preserve it. I have chosen to document these changes in Svalbard, the last land without borders on our planet. My goal is to engage a heart-felt reaction in the viewer. I believe the artist must have a passion for her subject, and a core need to communicate that passion. My hope is that my work will show the arctic's beauty so that people will choose to preserve it. We need the ice. Not just for environmental reasons, but also to maintain the last truly wild, untouched place on our crowded planet.
Karen Knorr
United States
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Karen Knorr was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany and was raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico in the 1960s. She finished her education in Paris and London. Karen has taught, exhibited and lectured internationally, including at Tate Britain, Tate Modern, The University of Westminster, Goldsmiths, Harvard and The Art Institute of Chicago. She studied at the University of Westminster in the mid-1970s, exhibiting photography that addressed debates in cultural studies and film theory concerning the ‘politics of representation’ practices which emerged during the late 1970s qnd early 1980s. She is currently Professor of Photography at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham, Surrey. Karen Knorr produced Belgravia (1979-1981) a series of black and white photographs with ironic and humorous texts that highlighted aspirations, lifestyle and the British class system under the neo liberalist Thatcher era in the late 70’s and early 80’s. 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Werner Bischof
Switzerland
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Bischof was born in Zürich, Switzerland. When he was six years old, the family moved to Waldshut, Germany, where he subsequently went to school. In 1932, having abandoned studies to become a teacher, he enrolled at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Zürich, where he graduated cum laude in 1936. From 1939 on, he worked as an independent photographer for various magazines, in particular, du, based in Zürich. He travelled extensively from 1945 to 1949 through nearly all European countries from France to Romania and from Norway to Greece. His works on the devastation in post-war Europe established him as one of the foremost photojournalists of his time. He was associated into Magnum Photos in 1948 and became a full member in 1949. At that time Magnum was composed of just five other photographers, its founders Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger, David Seymour, and Ernst Haas. The focus of much of Bischof's post-war humanist photography was showing the poverty and despair around him in Europe, tempered with his desire to travel the world, conveying the beauty of nature and humanity. In 1951, he went to India, freelancing for Life, and then to Japan and Korea. For Paris Match he worked as a war reporter in Vietnam. In 1954, he travelled through Mexico and Panama, before flying to Peru, where he embarked on a trip through the Andes to the Amazonas on 14 May. On 16 May his car fell off a cliff on a mountain road in the Andes, and all three passengers were killed. Source: Wikipedia Werner Bischof was born in Switzerland. He studied photography with Hans Finsler in his native Zurich at the School for Arts and Crafts, then opened a photography and advertising studio. In 1942, he became a freelancer for Du magazine, which published his first major photo essays in 1943. Bischof received international recognition after the publication of his 1945 reportage on the devastation caused by the Second World War. In the years that followed, Bischof traveled in Italy and Greece for Swiss Relief, an organization dedicated to post-war reconstruction. In 1948, he photographed the Winter Olympics in St Moritz for LIFE magazine. After trips to Eastern Europe, Finland, Sweden and Denmark, he worked for Picture Post, The Observer, Illustrated, and Epoca. He was the first photographer to join Magnum with the founding members in 1949. Disliking the ‘superficiality and sensationalism’ of the magazine business, he devoted much of his working life to looking for order and tranquility in traditional culture, something that did not endear him to picture editors looking for hot topical material. Nonetheless, he found himself sent to report on the famine in India by Life magazine (1951), and he went on to work in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Indochina. The images from these reportages were used in major picture magazines throughout the world. In the autumn of 1953, Bischof created a series of expansively composed color photographs of the USA. The following year he traveled throughout Mexico and Panama, and then on to a remote part of Peru, where he was engaged in making a film. Tragically, Bischof died in a road accident in the Andes on 16 May 1954, only nine days before Magnum founder Robert Capa lost his life in Indochina. Source: Magnum Photos
Adam Bartos
United States
1953
Adam Bartos visited local speedways in rural New York, Florida and New Mexico where drivers race the super-stock class of car on quarter-mile dirt oval tracks. This elemental class of driver-owned racecar competes without corporate sponsorship, for minimal prize money, simply for the pure thrill and sport of weekend motor racing on tracks all over the U.S. The intrinsic aesthetic Bartos captures is that of a rather crude and utilitarian technology glamorized by the singularity of its purpose and accumulated patina, acquired at high speeds on dirt tracks.It is said that stock car racing originated in the 1920s, during prohibition, when "moon runners" began boasting about the speeds of their nighttime trips, often on backcountry roads, illegally transporting liquor. Soon they began to race with each other for sport on weekends. (Famously, Robert Mitchum played one of these runners in the 1950’s cult classic, Thunder Road).Adam Bartos’s work has been exhibited widely. His books include: International Territory (Verso, 1994), which looks at the aging modern architecture of the United Nations’ headquarters and, implicitly, the ideals which created it; Kosmos (Princeton Architectural Press, 2001), a then inconceivable look into the Russian space program; Boulevard (Steidldangin, 2005), a dialogue between Paris and Los Angeles; Yard Sale Photographs (Damiani Editore, 2009) and Darkroom (Steidldangin, 2012). His work is in the collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and others. In 2013, he was shortlisted for the Prix Pictet, a global award in photography and sustainability, for his series Yard Sale Photographs.
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Laurence Leblanc was born in Paris in the early days of June 1967. Starting her artistic training early on, she studied drawing, painting, and gravure as a child at the Musée du Louvre’s Ecole des arts décoratifs. Later on Leblanc studied visual art at the Academie Charpentier, at its historic La Grande Chaumiere workshop located in Paris. "Each of us has to tell something that nobody else can tell" -- Wim Wenders. Leblanc always had a deep desire to convey her world a little differently and it was in that spirit that she covered Peter Gabriel’s Secret World Tour in the 90’s, travelling large parts of the world with the British musican over the next two years. In 1999, Leblanc came to the attention of art critic and curator Régis Durand who described her work as : « It exists in these pictures a kind of familiar fantastic, a mix of ordinary poetry and some strangeness » Whatever the medium, the act of creation for Laurence Leblanc comes after gradual impregnation with the subject and his or her environment. The results are often carefully thought-out and reflect both the expansive and minute of the subject and, their context. Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh said of Leblanc that: « Her pictures look like souls… the fuzzyness is not fuzzy, the grainy asppearance is not grain, life is not exactly life. Yet it is not death either, and I like being led on this narrow territory between the two » Leblanc is the winner of awards such as the Villa Médicis Hors–Les–Murs scholarship in 2000, and the HSBC Fondation prize in photographie in 2003. In 2003, Peter Gabriel wrote in the preface of her first book Rithy, Chéa, Kim Sour et les autres "Laurence has continued to explore new areas in her work, and I have watched her develop into an extraordinary artist" Leblanc’s second book Seul l’air was published in 2009 by Actes Sud. At the same time her exhibition Seul l’air consisting of work from Africa was presented at the 40th International Photography Festival in Arles. Always expanding her range of learning and creating, Leblanc responded to radio producer and writer Frank Smith’s proposition to create a sound piece for the Atelier de Création Radiophonique. The final 53 minute sound piece was broadcast on France Culture in July 2008. Leblanc also collaborated on the « Sometimes I think Sometimes I don’t think » project with the Domaine de Chamarande. Bulles de silence, a 19 minutes film, written, produced and directed by Leblanc, was selected and premiered at the Museum’s Night in the Niepce’s Museum in May 2015. Laurence Leblanc silently follows her own solitary artistic path which leads her to the field of contemporary photographic creativity, yet her strongest ally is time, the time given (and taken by the artist) to observe and to mature. Represented by the Claude Samuel gallery in 1999 then by the VU’ gallery from 2001 to 2015 Leblanc is a regular at: Art Paris, Art genève, and at Paris Photo since her début there in 1998. Leblanc’s works can be found in collections ranging from the prestigious National Trust for Contemporary Art in France, the Niépce Museum in Chalon-sur Saône, the French National Library, the HSBC Fondation & Collection, as well as in various private collections includng that of Marin Karmitz. We can see one of her picture in the exhibition « Etranger résident » Marin Karmitz’s collection from 15 october 2017 to 21 january 2018 in la maison rouge – fondation Antoine de Galbert. Source: laurenceleblanc.com
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