Q&A with Matthieu Gafsou


For his Australian Exclusive, Swiss artist Matthieu Gafsou tracks the transhumanist movement across Europe and is bringing H+ to the streets of Melbourne, with nine images from the series towering over Swanston Street on the lawns of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Hello, please start by telling us something about yourself that is not in your bio.

I love cooking, drinking good wine. I am an anxious but happy epicurean!

Can you explain your artistic processes to us (research, methods, processes, rituals, etc)? Has this changed over time?

My working method is quite simple. When an idea seems interesting to me, philosophically and thematically, I start to document myself. I read academic publications, I read as much as I can. Soon enough, I think about the different types of images I would like to use, I start mapping my ideas, making lists. As the creative process goes on, I eliminate a lot of tracks, I modify the direction, I adapt, as I succeed and also as I fail.

As time goes by, my projects become more and more ambitious but also more difficult to realize. I often face aporias and have to question my work.

Image: Matthieu Gafsou, from the series [H+], 2015-18. Courtesy the artist and Galerie C/MAPS.

Image: Matthieu Gafsou, from the series H+, 2015-18. Courtesy the artist and Galerie C/MAPS.

As an artist/creative, where do you draw inspiration for your work from?

My influences are mainly outside the photographic medium: literature, scientific research and film are my main sources of inspiration.

What has been the most rewarding project you have worked on so far?

My project Only God Can Judge Me, set in the Swiss drug scene. Even if it didn’t work as well as some of my other projects, I learned a lot and received a lot of human experience while making it. This project has left an impression on me and really made me realise the need to use photography to show the invisible: that which cannot be seen or that we do not wish to see.

What does the PHOTO 2022 theme ‘Being Human’ mean to you?

This theme speaks to me a lot. Not only because it concerns the work I am exhibiting, H+, which deals with transhumanism, but above all because the crises we are going through today (ecological, war or virus) question the place we humans have taken in the world and push us to an exercise of decentring. I believe that humanity will have to learn another language than that of force.

Image: Matthieu Gafsou, from the series H+, 2015-18. Courtesy the artist and Galerie C/MAPS.

When you are not working what do you enjoy doing most?

Playing chess, reading books, be with my wife and sons. Cycling.

What advice would you give to your 15 year-old self?

Don’t hesitate to confront your fears but also accept that you are fragile.

Image: Matthieu Gafsou, from the series H+, 2015-18. Courtesy the artist and Galerie C/MAPS.

Founding Partners
  • Bowness Family Foundation
  • Naomi Milgrom Foundation
Major Government Partners
  • City of Melbourne Arts Grants Program
  • Creative Victoria
Major Partners
  • Maddocks

PHOTO Australia respectfully acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands upon which we work and live, and the rich and diverse Indigenous cultures across what is now called Australia. For over 60,000 years, Indigenous arts and culture have thrived on this sacred land, and we honour Elders and cultural leaders past and present. This was, and always will be, Aboriginal land.

01–24 March