bye bye


Gravure. Somerset 300 gr.

48.8 x 37.5 cm (19 3/16 x 14 3/4 in.)

Five French missionaries leaving for Asia in 1852 solemnly posed for the photograph. The young priests seem to be reassuring themselves before their imminent departure, ironically echoed by the title, Bye Bye. The name sounds all the more sarcastic because one of the men, Jean Théophane Vénard, died a martyr during his mission. Danh Vo uses this photograph as a fragment of a narrative exploring Western cultural influence in Vietnam.

He carefully selects everyday objects and archives. His documents, often unretouched, become silent witnesses to events that are part of a larger story. In Bye Bye, he uses the image of young missionaries to recall the spread of Christianity by Europeans, causing a huge cultural upheaval to the detriment of local traditions.

Danh Vo's photograph Bye Bye was shown for the first time by the Pinault Collection at the 2015 exhibition "Slip of the Tongue" at the Punta della Dogana.