Arles Photo Encounters: our favourites

By Karelle Fitoussi and Anaël Pigeat

updated

The Rencontres de la photographie return with a serious program that is not always obvious. Our favourites.

ART IN MOTION WITH BABETTE MANGOLTE Filmmaker Babette Mangolte transports us to 1970s New York with her dance and performance photographs: Trisha Brown, Lucinda Childs, Bob Wilson, Yvonne Rainer, Merce Cunningham, but also Georges Perec, who was one of her friends… They are all there, and one has the impression of being with them, and with her – the labels offer comments by the artist on his own paintings. Sometimes photographing the dancers at ground level, Babette Mangolte revolutionizes the perception we have of these shows. It’s a staggering archive and it’s so much more than that. PA
Sainte-Anne Church, until September 25th.

Also read: Photo – Festival Portrait(s), Vichy shows his faces

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BETTINA GROSSMAN THE REDISCOVERY Do you know Bettina Grossman, the mythical inhabitant of the Chelsea Hotel in New York, like Janis Joplin or Bob Dylan in her day? There she died last year after fifty years in this place that was at the center of the art scene of the 1970s.The exhibition dedicated to her presents the work of a conceptual artist who had largely been forgotten by the general public until another artist, Yto Barrada, she began to publicize their work. Images and word games, adhesive tape collages, photocopies and photographs, wooden sculptures and wonderful sketchbooks are presented… A revelation. PA

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Photograph from the New York series, 1976-1986.

© BETTINA GROSSMANN

Salle Henri-Comte, until August 28th.

FREE AS ​​ROMAN HOUSE Light on an unknown work. Luxembourger Romain Urhausen, who disappeared in 2021 at the age of 90, took his first steps in humanist photography, showing the last images of the Halles de Paris before their destruction – he even wrote a book about it with Jacques Prévert, 1963. Then he took the turn the most daring formal experiments while maintaining a cheerful tone of humour. His paintings are associated with those of other artists such as Cartier-Bresson, Clergue or Doisneau. Some speak of a jack of all trades. What is particularly striking is his freedom. And we continue to wonder how his work stayed under the critics’ radar for a while. PA

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Untitled, 1950s-1960s.

Untitled, 1950s-1960s.

© ROMAN ORIGINAL HOUSE

Espace Van Gogh, until September 25th.

THE GESTURES OF SUSAN MEISELAS Hands classifying photographs, hands pruning olive trees, hands rolling dough, hands arranging buttons on a market stall, hands knitting… these are hands that have lived, hands that translate intimate and collective stories. With the composer Marta Gentilucci, Susan Meiselas, known for her documentary footage from conflict zones and one of the characters of the Magnum agency since 1976, invites you to a moving walk through the Saint-Blaise church through a mosaic of video screens a memory of gestures. PA

Excerpt from the video

Excerpt from the video “Mapping the body”.

© Susan Meiselas

Saint-Blaise Church, until September 25th.

MIKA SPERLING: HEMLOCK INCEST Cropped family photos, cropped in the middle, turned upside down, hollowed out of a protagonist, always the same, left out of frame and out of the way … “Cutouts of my grandfather that I don’t want to see point us to a first cartel followed by shots that we will only see cut off from a silhouette… Presented as part of the Louis Roederer Discovery Prize, which crowned the American Rahim Fortune and his work documentation on mourning, the montages and cuts. Outs by the Russian-German Mika Sperling show the gaping hole caused by incest rather than pictures. The executioner stays out of the picture, but the abyss takes up all the space until it suffocates. demonstration by absence. Charge by omission “like returned violence. As a means of gaining agency over the past”. Chills. And the well-deserved audience award. KF

“In my room”, 2000.

© MIKA SPERLING

Church of the Frères-Prêcheurs, until August 28th.

MIDDLE FINGER Their names are Orlan, Cindy Sherman or Birgit Jürgenssen, they are famous, unknown or already forgotten… This “feminist avant-garde” presents more than 200 works by 71 artists from the Verbund collection in the Mécanique générale, in Vienna the Map of the correspondences between the works – even the redundancy, to better appreciate their universal and seminal character. Faces muzzled with needles and threads, skins tied or crucified on an ironing board, women grafted onto their hearth or wedding dress, prisoners of the frame from which they cannot escape, female puppets well manipulated, sex offerings. .. Often armed with the tools they were tied to, or with their own bodies to wage their struggles, these artists, carrying all the anger and current demands, denounce and pose sexism, sexual violence, inequalities patriarchal ideal in question. Better have a strong heart. A collective chapter as provocative, radical, modern and necessary as it is perfectly cleansing. No, no, nothing has changed… Theatrical version

Untitled, by Ana Mendieta, 1972.

Untitled, by Ana Mendieta, 1972.

© Ana Mendieta

“A feminist avant-garde. Photographs and Performances from the 1970s from the Verbund Collection” at the Mécanique générale, Parc des Ateliers, until September 25.

THE BEAUTIFUL GREEN The planet is burning, ravaged by hyperconsumption and capitalism, the artists are hammering us. But two young French women manage to sidestep the platitudes of moralizing reporting to offer a different perspective on the climate catastrophe. Léa Habourdin hid her “anthotypes” behind shutters, prints made of chlorophyll, which has the peculiarity of rotating when exposed to light. “You can open these panels to see them and make them disappear a little more — or preserve them by not looking at them,” she warns. In the nave of the Trinitarian Church, Noémie Gouda asserts that the earth is a living organism with its own ‘geological time’, its permanent flow called ‘deep time’. His paintings, based on the art of trompe-l’oeil and optical tricks, question the possibility of renewal. KF

« Image forests.  Expanding worlds”, by Léa Habourdin, 2019-2022.

« Image forests. Expanding worlds”, by Léa Habourdin, 2019-2022.

© Lea Habourdin

Léa Habourdin, at La Croisière, until September 25th. Noémie Goudal, in the Trinity Church, until August 28th.

A HALF-TONE EDITION 2022 Christoph Wiesner, the new director of the Rencontres d’Arles, was keen to put youth back in the spotlight and give female production back its rightful place. After two years of pandemic, the first edition, entirely invented by Sam Stourdzé’s successor, is struggling to establish itself. No star or popular big show. Sharp, dogmatic programming that focuses heavily on documentaries and the past (the 1970s) or scans the horizon just to tell us it’s blocked (the destruction of the planet, racial and sexual discrimination, etc.). We come out of this 53rd season a little overwhelmed by the concepts and the sadness. Nostalgic for a time when content and form were accompanied by more brilliance and lightness. Fortunately, there is still some evidence and revelations with too few exceptions.

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