The photography festival in ARLES – LES RENCONTRES DE LA PHOTOGRAPHIE – celebrated the opening weekend from 4 – 7 July. Our GoSee correspondent Rolf Scheider, photography specialist, casting director and entertainer, was there and presents his highlights from the 52nd edition, which is still on through September, inviting visitors with the slogan ‘Summer of Fireflies’ (UN ETE DES LUCIOLES).
“Thanks to the perfect organization by the Arles Rencontres crew and THE ARLES 2021 APP, I was able to see all exhibitions in six days. Festival Director Christoph Wiesner has taken up the cause of ‘Resistance’, themed upon which he has put together an exciting mix. My five absolute highlights from the 35 exhibitions curated lovingly and with lots of commitment are :
MASCULINITES La libération par la photographie
THE NEW BLACK VANGUARD Photographie entre art et mode
PIETER HUGO Etre présent
STEPHAN GLADIEU République Populaire démocratique de Corée
SABINE WEISS Une vie de photographie
I was immediately able to relate to the mindset of the 97-year-old photography legend when I attended her two podium discussions. She refers to herself rather as a photography craftswoman or contemporary witness than an artist. With her free and independent spirit, she has established a true photographic monument. Her works are displayed at Chapelle des Jésuites of Museon Arlaten, a brand-new venue for Rencontres.
There were also very many books to discover, and accolades were awarded, for instance, the JURY AWARD OF THE LOUIS ROEDERER DISCOVERY AWARD 2021, which went to Tarrah Krajnak for Master Rituals II: Weston’s Nudes. Have a look at the festival website, which has a lot more in store.
One whole week is still not enough. Alone the city of Arles and its history are worth the trip. Southern France is only a few hours train ride away from Paris, and you are almost in the Camargue region, only 24 km from the Mediterranean. Arles is among the most beautiful cities in Provence and has numerous remains from Roman antiquity as well as artifacts from the Middle Ages. Several artists such as Picasso or Vincent van Gogh lived in Arles and portrayed the city and its surroundings in their works.
The latest art highlight is the LUMA Foundation of Swiss art collector and documenary film producer Maja Hoffmann. Luma, a culture campus dedicated to contemporary art and new media, was constructed on the former railway property west of the city center. Frank Gehry designed the LUMA Tower, at a height of 56 meters. The former industrial area was redesigned by Belgian landscape architect Bas Smets, inspired by the regions surrounding Arles, such as the Camargue and the Alpilles limestone mountain range. The twelve hectare lawn is surrounded by a diverse selection of plants and is open to the public.
Here on GoSee, I am delighted to share several impressions with you, the rights of the photographed works are, of course, held by the respective photographers. À bientôt et pense déjà en avance aux prochaines rencontres de la photographie a Arles en 2022!”