TEXT: Minh Ngoc Nguyen, PUBLICERAT: 2019-04-01

Calculated Coin Flips (2018) Solo Exhibition, Overview. Galleri Rotor2 Gothenburg, Calculated Coin Flips (2018), “Tar” (2017) 50x70cm - Archival pigment print, computer generated liqiud, made in unreal engine 4., “Overt Constraint” (2018) 21x30cm - Archival pigment print, “Unblock plz” (2017) Archival pigment print on concrete, “Void” (2017), 90x120cm, Stacked negatives, archival pigment print , “X does not mark the spot” (2017) Archival pigment print on cardboard, “RNG” (2018) 50x60cm, archival pigment print.

My work revolves around photography, combined with a few sculptural endeavours. I was formerly trained as a commercial photographer, which is why I have come to appreciate and utilise the ubiquitous nature of the medium in my recent works. Being and working in the commercial industry made me interested in the idea of the constructed image - it made me realise more than often that representation in photography isn’t real. This eventually led me to play with the idea of fabricated authenticity within my practice.

The accessible entry point and conceptions around the medium itself is often the starting point of my work and as a result I feel motivated to challenge and contradict conventions both within and outside photographic culture; When is a photograph a photograph? How is a photograph made? How is photography presented in an art context? etc.

 “Transmissions” (2018) Sequence of partially generated Laserscanned inkjet prints - 4x30x42cm , “Transmission 4” 30x42cm, Laserscanned inkjet print antennas. “Transmission 5” 30x42cm, Laserscanned inkjet print “Transmission 6” 30x42cm, Laserscanned inkjet print,“Transmission 7” 30x42cm, Laserscanned inkjet print.

Lately I have been intrigued by the technological density of photography – more specifically the virtualisation of the medium and its’ shift from familiar questions of representation to simulation (software, algorithms, digital renderings etc.) The translation from an artificial image created on a digital screen to a photographic print and what perceived value this process adds.

The exhibition, Calculated Coin Flips (2018), explores the playing field and boundaries between pure analogue photographs, computer-generated imagery and everything in between. The images depict urban scenarios and still-lifes that aim to provoke a sense of confabulation between the actual and artificial. Some photographs are manipulated, some are digitally generated in game development software, others are untouched “pure” photographs. For example, Transmissions (now a project/book of its’ own), a series of antennas made by using an algorithm in Photoshop, which randomly generates and manipulates a selection of pre-existing photographed antennas, ultimately leaving the image-making up to automation and chance.  

“I have spent a lot of time on the World Wide Web” (2019) 28x35cm, inkjet print on recycled pink paper, “Untitled” (2019) 28x35cm, inkjet print on recycled blue, paper. “I have spent a lot of time on the World Wide Web MKII” (2019) 28x35cm, inkjet print on recycled green paper.

By merging and juxtaposing tropes and techniques from perceived categorizations in photography, I hope to demonstrate the fluid properties and outcomes when it comes to image-making and to solidify a symbiotic relationship by which the medium influences how the message is perceived.

Minh Ngọc Nguyễn (b. 1992) is a photographer based in Copenhagen, Denmark. He studied at the Valand Academy (MFA), graduating in 2018. His work concerns the idea of fabrication within the photographic sphere, emphasising the medium’s perceived functionality. He has exhibited in Europe and featured in various publications. 

“TRANSMISSIONS” (2019) 24x18cm, 28pages, stapled zine - Designed by Funch Studio.