With approximately 30 exhibitions, the Rencontres d’Arles offers a general survey of contemporary photographic creation and practices. The relationships suggested within the program are at the core of the different sequences. They allow categories to be identified and, year after year, they encourage a thorough exploration of developments in photography.
Also this year we moved to Arles throughout the inaugural week looking for interesting projects from all over the world and now it’s time to present our Must See of Arles 2018… have fun!
Staying true to her exploration of a fallen humanity about which she tells a great tale, Laura Henno, whose previous work treated the subject of migrants from the Comoro Islands (her film Koropa will be presented in Marseille at the FRAC PACA for the Grand Arles Express), immerses herself in the Californian desert, at the lost Slab City. Emblem of an America at the size of an infamous camp of outsiders, here the pioneer life is lived out in dreams become nightmare. She settled into a caravan with her camera for two months in 2017 to meet, observe, and exchange with people, aiming to break the clichés and discover the characters. Some have hopes for a beyond, if not for lack of a future. Henno enters into dialogue with the full history of American photography, paying tribute to the photographers who, starting with Dorothea Lange up to William Eggleston, would create our visual imaginary of the Global South. Henno, who earned the 2007 Discovery Award at the Rencontres d’Arles, is back 10 years later with a work all the more focused in its formal and ethical ambitions.
Sparks is a multidimensional portrait of a forgotten but still raging contemporary European conflict: the war in Ukraine. Ukrainians are fighting each other, with government forces on one side and pro-Russian separatists on the other. Wiktoria Wojciechowska went in search of combatants and victims to recount its impact on the lives of ordinary people. The title, Sparks, refers to incandescent shrapnel that mercilessly pierces the walls of houses. Civilians living near the front call it Іскри or iskry, in Ukrainian. Looking up at a hail of burning fragments, they know it is already too late to seek shelter. The “sparks” signal death and fear. Combining photographs, collage, film and symbolic images of armed conflict with pictures and words collected from combatants, Sparks offers several perceptions of war.
La Lumiére Sombre
In 2018, Olympus will be presenting their “carte blanche” to American photographer Todd Hido. Over the course of twenty-five years Hido has gained international recognition for his photographs of places and subjects that when weaved together explore and play with innate human ideas of longing, loss, narrative, and memory. This latest series reinterprets his photographic portraits in the lighting style of European classical paintings. Exploring a range of shadow-less Northern light and a more chiseled chiaroscuro method. “Ten years ago, I visited the South of France. It was during my stay there that I realized in order to mitigate the summer heat and aid with afternoon naps, that the shutters were designed to completely black out a room. Coming from the Midwest of the United States, I had never seen this before,” recalls Hido. When first I made these pictures, I realized they were about the simplicity of light on skin and fabric and the sheer beauty of that quiet yet profound tool.”
People You May Know
Chandan Gomes’ visual and conceptual exploration in the series People You May Know is an unconventional exchange of conversations between two strangers who found each other in the virtual world. This work investigates the boundaryless realm of the “unknown” and “unseen” and reflects on how people interact and influence one another in the age of social media. As the boundaries between the digital and physical worlds get blurred, the phenomenon of the digitized self-finds agency and freedom to be anybody it wants to be. People You May Know is a dark and poignant search for romantic love in the digital age. Its unpredictable and non-linear narrative allows the viewer to experience a relationship as it unfolds, falters, and rebuilds, not always in the same order.
The series Corbeau takes us to Anne Golaz’s childhood home, a rural farm she spent over 13 years portraying. Like its namesake, Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, Corbeau is a work possessed by questions of disappearance and remembrance, here of siblings and heritage. The story is told in layers of interwoven narrative. Running through the story as a whole is a young man full of duty and fidelity, put to work at an early age. Photos, still frames, text and drawing shape a narrative backdrop that leads the viewer through a documentary story, as well as a fictional, dream-like experience. To achieve this depth of storytelling, Golaz spent two years with the playwright Antoine Jaccoud writing the texts that punctuate the work. Thus, the artist creates passageways through the various media, each of which stays true to the closed-door narrative.