Matthieu Gafsou

Igor Posner
29 May 2018
Mathieu Asselin
29 May 2018

Only God Can Judge Me

by Matthieu Gafsou

Inspired by the writings of Antonin Artaud and William T. Vollman, Matthieu Gafsou seeks to «find poetry in the sadness of the world». He chose as his subject the Lausanne drug scene, «a tragic form of exoticism next door», and managed to create an original work on an otherwise trivialized subject.
Matthieu Gafsou was immersed in Lausanne’s drug scene for more than a year.

By using various formal approaches, he prosaically and at the same time emphatically documented the life of addicts. His dignified portraits of longtime drug abusers with their sharp-featured faces stirringly personalize a social problem. With still lifes he captured their contradictory living environment. Hard documentary close-ups of drug packets, drug paraphernalia, aseptic drug consumption rooms, surveillance cameras, etc. provide a direct impression of the addicts’ daily struggle for survival.

By contrast, Gafsou’s poetic photographs of the scene’s nocturnal showplaces allow viewers to intuit the desirable sides of the high. By developing a rich and varied visual language mixing different levels of representation and interpretation, Matthieu Gafsou manages to create a genuine sense experience.


Matthieu Gafsou (CH, 1981) lives and works in Lausanne, Switzerland. After completing a master of arts in philosophy, literature and cinema at the Université de Lausanne, he studied photography at the School of Applied Arts in Vevey.

Since 2006, Gafsou has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions, and published five books. In 2009 Gafsou was awarded the prestigious “Prix de la fondation HSBC pour la photographie” and subsequently was invited to contribute to the Aperture Foundation's 2010 reGeneration2 exhibition. In 2014, Lausanne’s influential Musée de l'Elysée hosted Gafsou’s solo show titled Only God Can Judge Me.

In parallel to his artistic practice, Gafsou is on faculty at the University of Art and Design Lausanne (ECAL). Gafsou is about to show his last project at Les Rencontres de la photographie, Arles, this summer.


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