Le Regard à l’œuvre 2006

“Looking at an image by Jean-Baptiste Huynh is to undergo a particular visual experience, one that returns the gaze to its raison d’être; it is to interrogate – but without the gaze being aware of it – the meaning of the act of looking. Normally, photographic images have the power of inviting us into their space, of admitting us, in some way, to enter into them, to be part of the game. With Jean-Baptiste Huynh, it is the contrary: one remains on the threshold. The photographic space is miraculous, fragile, aleatoric; in his case it is also an insurmountable wall, reflecting something of a world that is at once similar and other, a transfigured world within which it is impossible to truly inscribe oneself. The image is a mirror, and by the subterfuge of the trapped gaze of the other, that is to say, by reflecting our own gaze, the image observes, in turn, how we observe ourselves. It substitutes itself for the one it had taken possession of, sending us back to our place, that of the other, the voyeur, the one who does nothing else but gaze.” - Henry-Claude Cousseau

Le Regard à l’œuvre is the catalogue from the major exhibition devoted to Jean-Baptiste Huynh by the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris in 2007. This retrospective gathered together portraits, still life pieces, and landscapes from the artist’s many travels over the last ten years to places such as Mali, India, Ethiopia, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Egypt, and France.

The following authors contributed to this work:
• Henry-Claude Cousseau, heritage chief curator, director of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris from 2000 through 2011
• Gabriel Bauret, author and photography exhibition commissioner