Pham Viêt Sĩ

14. 09. 2021 – 10. 10. 2021

An exhibition of portraits by the French-Vietnamese photographer Pham Viêt Sĩ, who died in 2005, portraits of children, adolescents and women, as well as several self-portraits. All are imbued with slight tension, a vulnerability, a skin-deep sensuality. There is an uncommon delicacy in these portraits, a tender and indefinable vision.

I walk on a beach, in the inextricable melee of bodies: an immense impulse that swells their flesh and mine. I walk in front of them: they were simply there and now I look at them. They would like to smile at me or speak or sometimes scream, something that would bend the silent line of our gazes. I cannot answer: I am in silence, in nothingness. I look at them and do not see them: I know the fragile mask that contains me. The click of the shutter releases this immense wave that submerges me, and pushes into my body what I was looking at, irremediably. I come out of the coma, I see people again. The memory of what I have just photographed is not an objective vision but the impossible mosaic of a dream: my gaze. I can leave again.

                                    Marseilles, 2 August 1981. Pham Viet Si