Jean-Baptiste Huynh finds his roots at Musée Guimet

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Eyelash, Huyen, 2003© Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co.

Jean-Baptiste Huynh became well known in the 1990’s. His mysterious black and white photographs were easy to recognize from afar. Sometimes they were so depressing that the models were disconcerted. Musée Guimet is showing portraits he made while visiting his family in Vietnam in 1994 and returning many times to Asia thereafter. But also photos he took of the collections of the museum. At galerie Lelong, avenue Matignon, he celebrates women’s beauty at great length.

Laura with snake III, 2012, © 2018 Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co.

His Vietnamese father had been in France for long before Jean-Baptiste Huynh dared go and visit his relatives in Vietnam. That was 1994, and he was barely 28. There he met Huyen, a woman he has been following for years, taking pictures of her as she grows older. The preciseness of his style and the quality of his art are easy to apprehend in the two exhibitions.

Huyen 3, 1999, at musée Guimet, © Galerie Lelong & Co

There are one hundred pictures in “Infinis d’Asie” at Musée Guimet, where India, China, Japan and Vietnam all speak about the beauty of women’s (and men’s) faces. Since his first trip, Jean Baptiste Huynh has been back many times and has also travelled to Peru, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. I find his portraits more unique than his still lives. The human gaze is his topic of predilection as is his research of light and shade.

India- Portrait 17, © 2004, Galerie Lelong & Co

Both shows should be seen the same day for the continuity of  the talent.

Until May 11 at Galerie Lelong, 38 avenue Matignon and until May 20 at Musée Guimet, 6 place d’Iéna. A book of all photographs is published by Skira and Musée Guimet (49€).

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