In the 1980s and 1990s Michael Nguyen works as journalist, poet, photographer, publisher, editor-in-chief of four special interest magazines, concert organizer, bookseller, online editor. Two book publications, anthologies, magazines etc.
Michael Nguyen has been living in Munich since 2007 and has dedicated himself entirely to art again since 2018.
Michael Nguyen is an artist, not a photographer but more a photographic poet or something he himself could not define. He 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, give them new perspectives, a new soul. „Michael Nguyen’s photography is the art of showing more than you can see. Making visible – worshipping the invisible, he walks with the third eye of a wanderer through the visual adventure of life.
„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, cultural organizer and bookseller. 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. I like to observe people and photograph them in everyday situations. But my real artistic work begins afterwards. The pictures are digitally processed and go through different stages until I have reached the mood, the sound, the effect, the emotion and the meaning I want to express. Then the photo becomes a „painting“ in which I show the real world of myself with all its beauty and horror. That is why I do not consider myself a photographer, but an artist, a photographic artist.
Michael Nguyen made a name for himself early on as a publisher of various magazines and periodicals. One of his main themes of work in the second half of the 1990s in the field of photography was „Greece“. In close cooperation with Dr. Matthias Harder he created the basis for the understanding of the photographs by Herbert List and Walter Hege and was in charge of the direction, editing, and publishing of Dr.Harder’s subsequent articles.
In 1989 he founded a local magazine in Berlin-Kreuzberg, which still successfully continues to portray life in the neighborhood Kreuzberg and its people until today. From 2004, Michael Nguyen was the editor-in-chief of an Indonesia magazine and split his time between Indonesia and Germany. In 2005, he dedicated the thematic booklet „Tsunami-Katastrophe auf Sumatra“ (Panorama 1-2/2005) to the Aceh region and its people. In 2004 he filled a gap in German-language specialist literature with the publication of the special issue „Ponorogo -die freundliche Stadt des Reyog“ (Panorama 7-8/2004).
The prefaces for two of Nguyen’s poetry volumes were written by Dr. Tilman Krause, who also wrote articles about forgotten authors in the early 1980s in the Berlin Literatur- & Kunstmagazin edited by Michael Nguyen. Ingo Arend, Dr. Gustav Seibt, Ines Geipel, Volker Weidermann, and other journalists and writers were regular guests at Michael Nguyen’s literary bookshop in Bergmann Street in Kreuzberg. The literary talk show „Das lesbische Quartett“, founded by Michael Nguyen, is still successfully continued by Laura Méritt in Berlin today.
His concert series with Greek singers such as Maria Farantouri, Angelique Ionatos, Alkistis Protopsalti, and others, which took place in the Kreuzberg Passionskirche and in the Kulturbrauerei in Prenzlauer Berg, is still unforgotten today. He also invited numerous Greek authors to Berlin to present them to an interested audience within the framework of moderated readings.
In the series of literature „Friday evening, Literature in Conversation“, organized by Michael Nguyen, in June 1997 he presented the writer Perikles Monioudis, in the Kreuzberg Passionskirche, also he organized readings with Tschingis Aitmatov and Eckhard Henscheid. In April 1996, he organized a photo exhibition with works by Matthias Harder (today’s chief curator of the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin) at Chronika in Kreuzberg’s Bergmannstraße. In the late 1980s, he published as German first releases the two stories „Rogomelec“ and „Der Traumträger“ by the Italian surrealist painter Leonor Fini.
Nguyen’s early photos have often nostalgic feels, some taken in the 1990s are now historical, such as Prague & Paris series. In 1992 Michael Nguyen was on his expeditions through Prague. Through around 50 photos, we look at the historical center of Prague with its Gothic and Baroque townscape, Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, and the Old Jewish Cemetery. However, Michael Nguyen’s main focus is on the little things in the city’s streetscape: construction sites, shop windows, picturesque alleys, traffic signs and garbage bins, cars, telephone booths…
In his in -1994- created series „Paris“ we see around 45 pictures of off-the-beaten-path spots in the French capital. The paths lead through narrow streets and past small cafés. This photo series has an unlikely charm, which is in 2018 considered as already historical.
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