Born in France in 1966 to a French mother and a Vietnamese father, Jean-Baptiste Huynh learned to use light alone to photograph, illuminate and print his work. The book holds a major place in the knowledge of his work, today exhibited in a large retrospective at the Guimet Museum (National Museum of Asian Arts-Guimet). Infinite Asia, the name chosen for the exhibition, is also the title of the book he designed. Much more than a catalogue, he perpetuates this tradition of the book as another staging of his work.
If the presence of Asia is at the heart of his work, it is through recurring themes that he studies it, such as the nude, the portrait, the plant and the mineral, the matter. With a constant search for the purity, the perfect line of forms or their associations, he leads us in his search for what seems to be of the timeless order: the beautiful.
Inspired by women’s faces or bodies, Infinite Asia revisits the Guimet museum’s collections to continue to show the fascination they exert on him and us. It is a poetic and formal journey that transcends cultures and leads us to the infinite.
They talk about it…
Connaissance des Arts magazine, January 2019.“Our image does not belong to us, it exists in the eyes of others,”says Jean-Baptiste Huynh. The Guimet Museum hosts the first retrospective of the work of the French-Vietnamese photographer, portraits and still lifes made in Asia (Vietnam, India, Japan, China, Cambodia…) for more than twenty years. The author of the series Miroirs (2006) also photographed a selection of works from the museum’s collections (tea bowls, Buddhist deities, mirrors…) and unveiled his latest unpublished series, Reflection, dedicated to the beauty of the Asian woman.
Polka, March-May 2019 (excerpts from an interview with Jean-Baptiste Huynh). About the exhibition: “It’s a real carte blanche, which I designed in an autobiographical way since it follows my personal story. It is composed of three parts, like three trips”. About the black walls of the exhibition: I wanted a clean set design, as in my pictures. I photograph on a dark background. My idea is to place the visitor in the same face-to-face as the one I experience when shooting». About his show Reflection :The mirror has always inspired me. It is the object of self-knowledge, but also the one that allows us to know the infinitely distant through telescopes and infinitely small with microscopes. (…) With Reflection, I illuminate the particles of mercury in 18th century mirrors so as to capture a flicker that is a kind of metaphorical cosmos in which the reflection of the person photographed appears, whose image is slightly diffuse». About his work protocols : «I have developed a very simplified shooting process: a single source of light, a single optic, a black background that allows to isolate thesubject from his social context to focus on his interiority».
Le Monde des religions, march 2019 (extracts). Asia and the obsession with the passing of time mark the work of photographer Jean-Baptiste Huynh, exhibited at the MNAAG. (…) The photographs of Huyen, a Vietnamese woman photographed at different periods of her life, show this desire to grasp the passage of years on a face, illustrating the progression towards maturity. (…) The materials he photographs – stone, wood, mirror – defy the effects of time and present a solid anchorage in reality. (…) Mixing the poetry of the ephemeral with the majesty of matter, Jean-Baptiste Huynh sought to evoke the brilliance and spirituality of a face. Marjorie Charpentier.
Jean-Baptiste Huynh is represented by Galerie Lelong & Co.
All works by Jean-Baptiste Huynh are available on our online bookshop.