Les Rencontres d'Arles 2024

  • Opens
    1 Jul 2024
  • Ends
    29 Sep 2024
  • Link
  • Location Arles, France

Eddies, spirits, traces, parallel readings, and rereadings are all new perspectives underlying the 2024 edition of the Rencontres d'Arles.

Overview

Photographers, artists, and curators unveil their visions, their stories, such as that of our humanity, alternately thwarted, in perpetual redefinition, resilient, but also visionary. Whether on the margins or established, the narratives lead to multiple pathways. They all emanate from the interstices of a porous surface: they intertwine, overlap, and intersect. The period is exciting, as this ensemble leads to a plurality of paths to be taken.

The first worldwide retrospective of American documentary photographer and portraitist Mary Ellen Mark, Rencontres – co-produced by the C/O Berlin Foundation and the Mary Ellen Mark Foundation – leads the way by occupying the entire ground floor of the Espace Van Gogh, where celebrities and marginalized members of society mingle, some of whom the photographer has followed for years. Inside the majestic church of the Frères Prêcheurs, Cristina De Middel takes us, inspired by Jules Verne, on the path of her Journey to the Center (of the Earth). She tells the story of migration between southern Mexico and Felicity, a small town in California, witnessing its complexity in the face of media coverage often too simplistic. Oscillating between reality and fiction, the journey across the territory becomes a heroic epic for individuals seeking hope in the face of the tragedy of their condition. Cristina De Middel signs the festival poster with a portrait where magic happened during a morning encounter. Anyone can become a subject in their own way. In China during the last decades of the 20th century, Mo Yi embodies the very object of his images, at the heart of a vast observatory of daily life, challenging past discourse of representation through experimentation, subjectivity, and humor.

Not far away, the exhibition How joyful to see you, produced by Aperture, bypasses established narratives and reveals the importance of Japanese photographers since the 1950s. The exhibition unveils new historiographical perspectives, emphasizing the need for an inclusive understanding of the history of photography, which has been predominantly male in its presentation. In the Henri-Comte room, Ishuichi Miyako, winner of the Women In Motion Prize 2024, also presents some of her iconic series such as Mother’s, which she describes in these words: "I had never thought about my mother's body, and now I discovered it in detail, thanks to photography. Taking a photograph is making visible the invisible things that lie beneath the surface." The first floor of the Espace Van Gogh reminds us that the archipelago also bears the memory of a cataclysm that occurred on March 11, 2011, whose origins plunge us into the geological history of a constantly battered territory, placed under the consequent threat of nuclear danger. With resilience, resistance, and creativity, the photographers reveal the incredible diversity and vitality of the Japanese scene.

Photographers also bear witness to the multiple traces of our existence, its beauty, but also its collateral impacts. Thus, Mustapha Azeroual, winner of the BMW Art Makers program, captures sublime images of sunrises and sunsets on the surface of oceans, while the Mississippi Color Landscape from the long-term project Fleuves Océan by Nicolas Floc'h reminds us of the presence of human activity on the planet, and Marine Lanier's Hannibal's Garden leads us into the Alps, inviting dystopian reflection on the evolution of our flora in the face of climate change.

Photographic archives are inherent to the medium. Year after year, Rencontres offers forays into the visual memory of photographers, artists, as well as industrial, historiographical, or vernacular archives. This 55th edition still reveals many discoveries, both in form and content. From ama, Japanese female divers, from the archives of Uraguchi Kusukazu, to the mysterious and whimsical world of Michel Medinger, passing through the history of the bar car or the comparison of collections from the Olympic Museum and Photo Elysée with Sport Under Test, archives occupy a prominent place.

Rencontres, defined by their connection to the history of the city of Arles, some events take on particular significance when they intersect with the heritage that the city abounds in. Last year, Sophie Calle rediscovered the unique shadows and lights of the underground site of the cryptoporticoes, newly invested in Juliette Agnel's exhibition. Following this revealing visit, the artist immediately expressed a desire to propose a project there, now presented in the form of the exhibition Ending in Beauty.

In search of new forms, the festival is also pioneering. With Heaven and Hell, Vimala Pons and Nhu Xuan Hua lead us to the encounter between the art of stage, performance, and photography, between current events, its actors, and fiction. In the heart of a hybrid exhibition, the two artists testify to a perpetual movement in a fragile balance. In the Name of the Name highlights another scene: that of the street, the margins, venturing into the sensitive surfaces of graffiti where photography, sometimes the last witness of the oldest human creative manifestation, weaves a story between the appearance and disappearance of ephemera.

There are numerous forms that photographic writing can take. The relationship with time and narration is particularly perceptible in the serial and conceptual approach of a generation of photographers and artists such as Zoe Leonard, Judith Joy Ross, Hans-Peter Feldmann, or Nicholas Nixon. The exhibition dedicated to the Astrid Ullens de Schooten Whettnall collection, curated by Urs Stahel, reveals its richness.

The Rencontres d'Arles continue to actively support and accompany emerging creation. The Fondation Louis Roederer Discovery Prize now takes up residence at Espace Monoprix and invites curator Audrey Illouz to open new horizons, even questioning the dissemination of new technologies such as AI.

© Cristina De Middel
i

© Cristina De Middel

© Stephen Dock
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© Stephen Dock

© Rajesh Vora
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© Rajesh Vora

© Debi Cornwall
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© Debi Cornwall

© Marine Lanier
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© Marine Lanier

© Randa Mirza
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© Randa Mirza

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