The mass of exhibits, the diversity of venues and formats, the wealth of exchanges and debates, the number of programs associated with the file… It is impossible to draw a complete panorama of it. Arles photo meeting which spread throughout the region, convening a hundred artists and thousands of professionals. That will not be our ambition. But rather choose five proposals that attract our attention in that they stick, as this 54 edition announces, “A state of consciousness”, in the biggest concerns of the complex and contemporary world.
The depth of history, the evocation of past battles and those that are being built, image by image, techniques in the service of poetry and creative richness, many insights were brought, again this year, by this indisputable photographic event. A whole summer to enjoy it, in a welcoming and very active city.rencontres-arles.com)
50 years in the eyes of Libé: when photographers break the codes of complete freedom
We often talk about the style Freedom. For its 50th anniversary, an exhibition (and a very nice book) shows how photography has allowed the biggest national daily to show its specific unique and daring tone.
It is between the thick walls that enter the history of the medieval Abbey of Montmajour, a refuge of freshness not far from Arles, that these witnesses of an often burning actuality are revealed. The 330 images exhibited for each decade since 1973 have been chosen, not without difficulty, from an abundant production of the film and digital archive by Lionel Charrier, current head of photography and Curator of the exhibition.
“From the biggest names such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Raymond Depardon, Françoise Huguier, to the collectives of the past, passing through fellow travelers of the newspaper, hundreds of collaborators have formed a certain idea of press photography. Libé gave the photographers.“And a tremendous freedom. Image in the heart of decades of struggle, from Larzac in yellow vests, from MLF to feminist gluers, from Sartre to Macron, from Chechnya to Mali and Ukraine.
A wall of these very specific “One poster”, with shocking titles and full-page photos, welcomes you from the entrance. But above all, this very human exhibition is touched in that it says below in capturing these images. As for the first obituary in 1980; this of one of the founding fathers of the newspaper, Jean-Paul Sartre, and a photo chosen by the director at the time, Serge July, in the investigation of the most emblematic of the existentialist philosopher.
Among the first photographers of releaseChristian Weiss remembers joining “an interesting project, which came out of the ordinary, a kind of family, he shines moving, in front of his photo of the MLF activist demonstration, in which he blends in effortlessly with his androgynous look. Women with whom he admits to having “clean, despite everything that was put in my head“. We also dive into the back of an image never published, a portrait of the elusive Mesrine. From anecdote to History.
Eveningside (2012 – 2022) – Gregory Vrewdson, America Transfigured
A great figure in photography,”A portrait was drawn by Gregory CrewdsonMiddle Americaa wide-eyed America towards the lights of an exhausted dream“, summarizes Jean-Charles Vergne, curator of the exhibition presented at the Mécanique générale.
Dedicated to the last ten years of the work of the artist based in Massachusetts (United States), this window sheds light on his subtle production drawing on the intimate developing a political dimension. Between Flemish painting and film photography, for which he mobilizes real film crews.
Introduced by the black and white series firefly (1996), fruit of the failure (wonderful) of a capture of romantic fireflies, the trilogy presents food on art history and mythology. So its series Cathedral of the Pineswas born after a romantic breakup with “an artistic drought of 2 years, 31 images that come to mind like David Lynch and Mulholland Drivewhile he isolates himself in a rehab church to work away from New York“.
Cropping hundreds of images to achieve perfect clarity, his allegories forcefully signify the threat of pollution and social decay.
From photo to film – Agnès Varda, her first life
Before becoming a pioneer and a recognized filmmaker, Agnès Varda was a photographer. In 1948, it became official at the Festival d’Avignon and at the National Popular Theater from 1951 to 1961.
The beginning of this first life is written in Sète, which he took care of since his family found refuge there during the Second World War. “He captures with his Rolleiflex, friends, sailing, seizing the jousts on the canals then the beams and the fishermen in Pointe Courte, this popular district where his first film (eponymous) was shot in 1954.presents Carole Sandrin, curator of the exhibition presented at Cloître Saint-Trophime. He eats photography to explore cinematographic language.“
This journey, the result of work on a collection of 27,000 negatives in the process of being invented, ties the link between the two modes of expression that the artist who died in 2019 was surprised to structure his look.
Magnificent by its frames, daily gestures, materials, atmosphere. This dialogue between filmed documents, film extracts, scouting photos, contact sheets, forms the beginning of his graphic and realistic style.
Agnès Varda will also fulfill herself from 2003, in her third life, as a visual artist, as shown in a surprising exhibition at Luma.
Rosangela Rennó – Building on the ruins of photography
Recognized for her innovative and politically engaged work, Rosângela Rennó won the favor of the prize jury. Women in motion 2023. The Brazilian who has a career of 30 years deploys several of his projects in General Mechanics.
“I put myself on the side of the observer, the researcher, because our photographic archives in Brazil are poor, which conditioned the weakness of his history. So I use vernacular photos collected from flea markets, trash cans… which become documents.” Obsessive collector, Rosângela Rennó thus presents a work that began in 2017 in investigation of photos of the monument to Lenin, a pretext once again to tell the story.
Framed according to a color code and spread on all the walls in alphabetical order of the countries represented, these 800 photos are almost all from the Internet. “I didn’t pay or ask for permission but I transcribed the names of the photographers, where they were taken..”
Thus, it transforms these circulating images into documents. The location of each monument in the heart of the city and its potential displacement, from sidelining to retreat, reveals the degree of persistence or distance of the cult dedicated to the Russian dictator.
Ground Control – “Grey Sun”, more than an exhibition
An unusual place, a little out of the way. Dubbed Ground Control, this former merchandise hall was perhaps intended for everything…except to become an exhibition space for the Rencontres! nonetheless, this has been the case since 2016.
For this 2023 edition, a reflection was undertaken on climate change, in order to make the site more beautiful, less stuffy. An approach that was imposed in the summer of 2022, when the place was a little avoided in view of the high temperatures.
The two artists who staged their exhibition at Ground Control, Eric Tabuchi and Nelly Monnier, teamed up with Cité anthropocène in Lyon to “present an exhibition in a place that is not necessarily appropriate”.
A new scenography, based on modular aluminum structure, made it possible to open the place, to ventilate it. An unprecedented challenge taken by Les Rencontres and the artists. But Ground Control is not only a place, it is also a singular exhibition, where the great meets the small, the sacred rubs shoulders with the vulgar.
gray sun, is the France that one does not see or that one does not notice. Abandoned gas station, old cinema, closed swimming pool. A journey to the heart of our territories, moving.