Rencontres d’Arles 2022: 5 photography exhibitions to visit

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Rencontres d’Arles 2022: five photography exhibitions not to be missed

We took a trip to the Rencontres d’Arles, the world’s premier photography festival, to spot the best photography exhibitions under the sun this year

Perform, experiment, emerge, revisit, explore and testify; this is how the Rencontres d’Arles categorized this year’s impressive program of 40 exhibitions presenting 165 artists. Scattered around the charming streets of the town (apart from a few satellite exhibitions), the works are exhibited in unexpected contexts, from 12th-century chapels and cloisters to the floor above a Monoprix supermarket. Like the heat of summer in the south of France, photography interfered in the life of the city, from July 4th to September 25th. Also not to be missed in the city, the powerful exhibition “Live Evil” by Arthur Jafa presented at Luma Arles.

5 unmissable photographic exhibitions of the Rencontres d’Arles 2022

Katrien De Blauwer
“The Photos She Doesn’t Show Anyone”
Cruise, Arles

Katrien de Blauwer, Start (62)2020. Courtesy of Les Filles du Calvaire Gallery and Fifty One Gallery

Although already ambiguous and seductive in print or on screen, seeing Katrien De Blauwer’s compositions in person takes her assembled narratives to another level. Working with images from her magazine archives, De Blauwer explains: “I am a photographer without a camera. To me, cutting is like clicking the shutter button. While his montages are anonymous – a disembodied foot peeks out from under a skirt, paired with a whisper – their scale offers intimacy, inviting viewers to closely examine each cut, glue and reflected color. For the September 2018 style issue of Wallpaper, De Blauwer collaborated with us on a special series for an A/W 2018 fashion story and also created a limited edition cover.

Lucas Hoffman
‘Evergreen’
Monoprix Arles

Lucas Hoffman, Bronx River AvenueNew York, 2016. Courtesy of the artist

When you walk through the Lukas Hoffman exhibit, you imagine what it’s like to walk as Hoffman himself. His work is difficult to pin down, at least in part in the two temporal approaches to presentation. In one, a series of large format polyptychs are distilled and offer continuous views along the side of a discarded container, marked as ‘EVERGREEN’. The year value of chipped paint on each letter is consistently documented. In the other direction, large format is used freehand, often without looking through the viewfinder. Ephemeral compositions are created as a pedestrian walks past Hoffmann and the viewer follows.

Noemie Goudal
‘Phoenix’
Church of the Trinitarians, Arles

Noemie Goudal. Phoenix VI, 2021. Courtesy of Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire and the artist

Exploring spatio-temporal immensity and the modalities of being post-anthropocentric, the showcase of the Rencontres d’Arles by Noémie Goudal is impressive. In Under the Great South, segmented images of tropical wildlife burn across the screen, revealing more and more photographic layers shifting landscapes across the screen like an interrogation of the potential for renewal and destruction of fire. Whereas in Inhale Exhale, a swamp breathes in and out images of banana trees and other 3m tall plants, as an expression of Goudal’s philosophy that the Earth is an organism, following a temporality distinct from the brief but destructive existence of the Earth. ‘humanity. In the series Phoenix, illusory palm groves position the environment in a continuous flow. Taken together, Goudal’s deconstructive and performative strategies create profound reflections on our world.

Sam Contis
‘Transit’
Carre d’Art, Nimes

Sam Contis, Confidence exercise2018. Courtesy of the artist and gallery Klaus von Nichtssagend

With the expressive documentation of Sam Contis, the spectators of the Rencontres d’Arles are brought into the universe of its protagonist; a powerful effect when considering the complex role of photography in the construction of place and self. In “Transit”, intimate-scale gelatin prints combine with large-scale color photographs across the three series exhibited at the Carré d’Art. In one, historical reference footage of a high school girl cross-country team nods to the passage of time, while political and personal tensions lurk in the background. The next gallery travels to the English countryside, recording styles against the backdrop of borders and freedom. deep springs That’s where the show ends, as Contis explores male and Midwestern mythologies through enigmatic imagery from one of the last all-male colleges in the United States.

Mary McCartney
‘Moment of tenderness’
Chateau La Coste, Le Puy-Sainte-Reparade

Mary McCartney, Trees to cuddleSussex, 2021. Courtesy of the artist

Love, longing and heartbreak come together in a collection of heartfelt visual memories in Mary McCartney’s “Moment of Affection” at Les Rencontres d’Arles. She describes how the exhibition began to take shape during the pandemic hiatus: “I took my time, flipping through every contact sheet and photograph in my archive… Finding simple, emotional moments. And here they are. Set in the impressive “bastide” of Château La Coste, walking through the gallery is an intimate reflection on the full spectrum of affection, both in McCartney’s life and in our own lives as viewers. §

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