Exhibitions, awards, workshops and events
Guest curator of the Rencontres d’Arles 2008: Christian Lacroix
Exhibition presented at the Palais de l’Archevêché and at the Cloître Saint-Trophime. Arles photographers being shown at the Palais de l’Archevêché: Dominique Roman, the Raybaud Collection, Tourel, Chateauneuf, Marcheteau, Vignal, Carle Naudot, Barral senior and junior, three generations of the George family: Frédéric, Joseph and René, Lucien Clergue, Bernard Martin, Charles Farine, Boby Bourdet, André Garimond, Mathieu Pernot.
By Christian Lacroix, guest curator of the Rencontres d’Arles 2008.
She is in a long thick overcoat of smooth russet wool, with a short curly perm and a large red mouth. He is slim and pale, pipe in mouth and ash blonde hair swept by the Rhône-side wind. These are my parents. They are laughing because I am awkwardly holding the Kodak box. I was three or four, I remember the moment. In these first two photos, my father is out of focus and elsewhere, eyes half-closed and smiling; my mother keeps only a quarter face, in the bottom left corner, and giggles, motionless. My eye today, perverse or sophisticated, is not repelled by these clichés in either sense – shots, clichés – and especially not by the botched ones, to which I am tempted to ascribe a particular poetry. Thinking of them, I say to myself that what I did there was to make the perfect, apposite portrait of my parents: an adorable, distant, retiring father and an uptight mother who, though self-effacing, likes to amuse and have fun.
In biscuit tins and in sumptuous age-old chocolate boxes with hand-painted silk, the photos of my two families piled up without category or chronology. Tiny views in thick, notched white frames, already washed-out slides, sepia medallions on postcards, photos in small indented formats, studio portraits, unknown children on bear and goat skins, gormless or improbable wedding couples and fervent, slick-haired communicants, coagulating in a merry jumble.
As a child, hiding/curled in a still-maternal cocoon, I began to collect/consider the world from this protective bubble, where newspapers, magazines and all kinds of solar images opened my eyes wider than all the illustrations in my boys’ books.
The die was cast. For a long time, the photographic image was my only link with the world at large. My eye, retina and pupil were camera, lens and diaphragm. I contemplated passively, granted, but inside I was so reactive in my observations, imprinting confusions forever on my imagination-mind:
photos = life,
photos = painting,
nature = photos,
skin = photosensitivity,
history and geography = photos,
family = photos,
politics = photos,
everyday life = photos...
I would sit quite still, eyes straining at the silver paper, and tunnel into it in self-hypnotising spirals, striving to pass through the looking-glass à la Lewis Carroll. I wanted to cut loose from the drab routine on offer and taste real life in this sepia and black-and-white of uneven quality. What was then still called newsprint grain (and not yet pixels), whether or not crudely retouched, gave me even more boltholes, other fantasised images of corrupted surrealness.
It seems to me that photography and I were teenagers together: the explosion of pop, the kinetic experiments, the affirmation of sensitivity/sexuality, awakening political awareness and the rediscovery of the great masters of the ’20s and ’30s.
Once an adult, I felt myself gradually acquire some colour, step out of the frame and into the world and add third, fourth and fifth dimensions to the hologram-images, videos and installations – an entire photographic rhizome holding the world together.
Exploring and surfing time gave way to space, to elsewhere, to faraway realities; it was still travel ‘in camera’, but ‘reported’.
And here I am in a red and green dark room that will always be a picture tree, a slippery pole with photographic prizes at the top, a photosensitive paper house of wandering/unclaimed images, of slivers of stories, of screens.
In responding to François Hébel and François Barré’s invitation to guest-curate the Rencontres d’Arles, there could be no escaping the temptation to curate my own impressions.
Nonetheless, I wanted to free myself of nostalgic sepia and black-and-white and to play host to colour – the colours and nuances of friends and artists, of old and recent encounters and discoveries. These are the guests that make up the programme; I want it to be a snapshot of my contemporary memories, from past to present. The time has come. I must ‘go back’, return to my roots and share the booty of fifty years and more. I must finally agree to take part in the Rencontres, for the clock has struck. In the Middle Ages, the word rencontre meant the act of combat, as it still does in sport. But instead of fisticuffs I prefer its later sense of ‘chance encounter’ – just as we say ‘good fortune’ and ‘godsend’, those profoundly prompted coincidences that are another of my special drivers.
The starting equation was ‘Rencontre/ Photography/ Arles’. What rencontres have I been handed by this big bang, this fight between Arles and all sorts of arts, these radiant strokes of fortune? Image-writers, recyclers, witnesses, compilers, explorers, tamers, designers, irritators, mavericks, poets, great calligraphers, painters, soldiers, conjurers, creators of femmes fatales... Because it’s them, and because it’s me. They have helped me to see and look, to assert and reveal myself. I will therefore modestly be a kind of go-between, an interpreter, inviting them to show themselves, to ‘unveil’ themselves to others amid stone backdrops that are a precious part of me.
Those expecting a ‘fashionista’ festival will feel justifiably disappointed. And besides, what does la mode mean nowadays? I would prefer the masculine: un mode, a way of being, showing oneself, appearing. So do not look solely at the poses and postures, the fabrics and facepaint; dig beneath the skin and standpoint, and close in on what – among the millions or billions of images that have passed through my retina – has caught my eye, captured my tastes and colours, on the trail of white pebbles to guide those visiting this 39th edition.
‘There is nothing more serious than futility’, said Cocteau, speaking with the voice of experience. There is nothing more essential than the incidental. My guests will come and give their version of what – beyond a fashion show, a decor, a dress, a necklace, a body, a face, a set of gestures, a picture – speaks to us about identity, presence, absence, the climactic ‘petite mort’, life, emptiness, yesterday, now, here and elsewhere.
I was also eager for Arles and its people to be directly involved in this year’s festival. Through their shots of the ‘best day of their life’, through the search for moments and faces that have evaporated from the recent history I have known, through works and days not so distant but already long gone, through projects that reach beyond folklore to excavate an entire past/present that is part of my personal ‘fabric’.
In short: backstage rather than limelight, anonymity rather than official pomp, true nakedness rather than frills, the humble and the anodyne rather than conventional glory and forced acknowledgement, impressions rather than obviousness, gaps, flaws, breaks, skids, incidents and ‘suspense’ rather than a High Mass of peremptory certainties.
Light, even if chiaroscuro, can, when well directed, delve into the labyrinthine, initiatory recesses of the self. What I want to show is, in a sense, this open-heart surgery on a city and on my own rencontres.
GUESTS PHOTOGRAPHIC IMPRESSIONS BY CHRISTIAN LACROIX 1/3
GEORGES TONY STOLL
Exhibitions curator: Olivier Saillard is head of exhibition programming at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.
And yet there remains a totally unknown chapter of that history, one dismissed – when not overtly despised – as involving mere documentary or technical material: fashion reporting, which caught the reality of clothes on living bodies or included them in still lifes. Functioning upstream or downstream of the big studios and top photographers whose influence extended to the magazines, this technically all-embracing kind of photography made its way through the 20th century playing the supporting role assigned to it.
It is topical and strangely modern in, for example, the registering of models in the 20s and 30s, with mannequins shown frontally, in profile and from behind as the record of a fashion season – a year's creativity –and an explicit part of the fight against illegal copying. Simultaneously reminiscent of the police mug shot and of archival and inventorial procedures, these identity photographs for clothes were also published in the form of "look books" for use by buyers, journalists and various industry professionals after the parades. Their use spread after the 1970s despite their undisguised neutrality, and they became an authentic communication tool in the hands of, for example, Martin Margiela, who returned to an "economical" photography free of stylistic excesses.
Often consigned to the opening advertising sections or the closing pages of fashion magazines, parade photography is an enormous field inhabited by nomadic practitioners tracking the new clothes on offer. As information, it spotlights the latest collections and the decorative aspects of their presentation. Parade photographers like Guy Marineau, who has been working for the haute couture and ready-to-wear industries for close on forty years, have built up collections outstripped only by the constantly spiralling number of collections and models shown. Mass produced because they exist to keep tabs on what's happening in the fashion houses, these photographs enjoy a shelf-life as brief as the successive crazes they depict.
While some of the photographers are there to catch the ideas of couturiers and designers as presented on the catwalk, others focus on fashion as worn in the street. This latter phenomenon has developed exponentially with the rise of the blog and the way the Internet puts things within everybody's reach. Now a source of inspiration for the designers themselves, these "on site" fashion reports, either on the screen or in the magazines so appreciated in Japan, have become a realistic counterpoint to the fashion magazines.
Among the photographic techniques that fashion puts on the same footing as straight coverage, the fashion video plays the same kind of part as parade photography: information rather than art. Nonetheless, some designers have tried to reconcile the two: in 1988, for example, Marithé & Francois Girbaud asked Jean-Luc Godard to make the video of their parade. And throughout the 80s Jean-Paul Gaultier used videos indistinguishable from music clips to home in on the creative essence of his collections. Prepared in partnership with INA, France's radio and TV archive, The History of the Fashion Video returns to the major film essays shot in the 1960s for TV's Dim Dam Dom by Peter Knapp, Jean-Christophe Averty, Just Jaeckin and Jeanloup Sieff. Séraphin Ducellier, who began filming fashion parades in the 1990s, offers most of his work here, and with it his own take on the period.
Model registration, the technical visuals in look books, images snatched during parades, and moving images: such is the enormous gamut of fashion photography. Deliberately eschewing solemnity and vectored by the fashion mags, this information-inflected branch of the discipline – with its overtones of the documentary, the mug shot, the catalogue and journalism – transforms its inherent constraints into aesthetic necessities.
The formulaic rigour and the modernity of these identical yet singular series, together with their mindboggling quantity and relentless factuality, deserve further investigation. For they highlight the mannequins and garments which, despite their seeming self-evidence, had vanished from a fashion photography sometimes hijacked by creative striving and media overkill.
THE RENCONTRES D’ARLES AWARDS 2008
Exhibitions produced with the support of the LUMA Foundation.
Exhibitions presented at the Grande Halle, Parc des Ateliers.
Since their inauguration in 2002 the Rencontres d’Arles Awards have brought the revelation of all sorts of new talents. Five professionals from different countries and different photographic fields – Elisabeth Biondi, Caroline Issa and Masoud Golsorkhi, Nathalie Ours, Carla Sozzani, Luis Venegas – have each been invited by Christian Lacroix to designate three photographers to exhibit at the Rencontres as candidates for the Discovery Award.
The Rencontres d’Arles Discovery Award goes to a photographer or an artist making use of photography whose work has been recently discovered internationally or deserves to be. The winner is chosen by a vote of photography professionals present in Arles during opening week and receives 25,000 €.
The Contemporary Book Award goes to the best photographer’s project book published between 1st June 2007 and 31st May 2008. The grant award is 8,000 €.
The Historical Book Award goes to the best thematic or monographic publication published between 1st June 2007 and 31st May 2008. The grant award is 8,000 €.
The Book Award winners are picked by the five nominators, the Rencontres’ president François Barré and the Fondation Luma's founder Maja Hoffmann.
The three awards will be presented at the ceremony to close the opening week of the festival.
The LUMA Foundation, Rencontres d’Arles Awards partner since 2002:
A non-profit foundation, the LUMA Foundation helps independent artists and trailblazers to carry through projects in the fields of art and image, publishing, documentary and multimedia. It is also committed to backing projects relating to the environment, education and culture in its broadest, most innovative sense. In this way the foundation sparks fruitful dialogue between spheres that do not always interact easily. Dedicated to ongoing discovery, the LUMA Foundation is proud to be sponsoring the Rencontres d'Arles Awards in 2008 and thus to be providing long-term support for artistically committed photographers.
The outdoor, night-time screenings at the Théâtre Antique are unique. A photographer or photographic specialist conveys their passion in images to an audience of 200; the screenings are accompanied by concerts and performances. Each evening is a unique creation. Some have stayed in the memory due to the spectators’ responses, enthusiastic or disapproving.
The evening projections are organised by Le Tambour Qui Parle and the Rencontres d'Arles.
The Rencontres d’Arles runs exhibition tours with the photographers during opening week, and with mediators all through the summer. These offer a lively and interactive approach to the festival, enabling visitors to discover the diversity of the programme and the exhibition venues. After an initial visit, you can design your own itinerary among the fifty or so exhibitions.
The exhibition tours are organised with support from Télérama.
Conferences and debates are held during opening week. The attending professionals and featured photographers are invited to talk about their work and about issues raised by the photographs.
EXHIBITION OF A WORK IN PROGRESS: PARC DES ATELIERS
The Parc des Ateliers in Arles is a model and a master-plan for a new kind of cultural utopia. Imagined, invented and designed by artists, architects, art professionals and intellectuals as the ultimate cultural destination, it is an open campus for creative production, display, study and preservation. Photography and moving images are its central force and innovative research and exchange are its ongoing mission. Aligned with the aims of the LUMA Foundation, its founding body, it will unite, in the boldest way, culture, education and the environment, and will encourage a fruitful dialogue between disciplines and visions rich in contrast as vital elements of a forward- looking society. Located in the heart of the city of Arles and surrounded by the rich environment of the Camargue, it acts as a bridge between the industrial heritage and the Unesco protected historical core of this multi-faceted city. It also recreates the public park that was once the meeting place of every layer of its population, and thus becomes a project for and with the people of Arles.
The Master-Plan The LUMA Foundation, together with the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region and the city of Arles, with the full collaboration of Frank O. Gehry (Gehry Partners LLP) has embarked on the consideration of creating a cultural destination in the area of the former SNCF railway workshop, located in the heart of the city of Arles.
Joining this creative initiative are Actes Sud publishers, Les Rencontres d’Arles, the ENSP (École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie), the local Chamber of Commerce, with the initial observations of the ABF (Architecte des Bâtiments de France). Together they have designed a visionary master-plan for the area. The new regeneration project combines a vast cultural complex (LUMA Foundation), exhibition and archive space, and an office and service building for Les Rencontres d’Arles, the publishing house Actes Sud, the school of photography ENSP, a cinema, commercial and residential areas and a hotel complex, with the hope of adding over time a new train station and a memorial museum for the railway workers.
The building project will be set in a highly landscaped public garden. A snapshot of this work-in-process can be seen this summer, during the festival des Rencontres d’Arles.
The timeline begins with the signature of the first part of the project by the LUMA Foundation and the creation of the master-plan of the area by the end of 2008. This will be followed by an eighteen month study and project- planning phase to prepare the site for construction beginning mid-year in 2010, with the estimated completion of the project by the end of 2011. Final plans for the site will be announced at Les Rencontres d’Arles in July 2009.
More than an architectural and urban regeneration project, the Parc des Ateliers aims to become a new, vibrant centre for the city, creating in its first year of operation job opportunities for the local population. As a cultural destination, the Parc des Ateliers hopes to contribute to the ongoing story of Arles as one of the important cultural cities of France, benefiting from the international programming of the Foundation and its surrounding activities.
ARLES IN SUMMER JUNE TO SEPTEMBER 2008 SHOWS AND FESTIVALS IN ARLES
‘VOIES OFF’ FRINGE FESTIVAL
Find out what’s really happening on the contemporary scene: a different slant on the ins and outs of emergent photography. Cour de l’Archevêché
THE 13TH WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL
Music and voices from around the world. Music from distant lands resonates in an uplifting alchemy that blends scholarly and festive music, intimate melodies and popular rhythms, and southern sounds and accents. With Goran Bregovic and 40 musicians on stage, including Trio Joubran, Lo Cor de la Plana, Toumani Diabaté and Buika.
LES ESCALES DU CARGO
The festival ‘Les Escales du Cargo’ is once again taking up residence at the Théâtre Antique in Arles, with Camille, Rokia Traoré, Fink, Massive Attack, The DØ, Yael Naim & David Donatien, and Saez.
LES ENVIES RHÔNEMENTS - THE 10TH EDITION
Works by artists on the theme of gardens will be on show in the Marais du Vigueirat nature reserve. Marais du Vigueirat and Mas Thibert village.
21TH PEPLUM FESTIVAL
Films, recreations, workshops and more. Arles
FERIA DU RIZ, CORRIDAS
The whole programme on http://www.rencontres-arles.com
Jointly published by the Rencontres d'Arles and Éditions Actes Sud 2 publications: English and French The Rencontres d'Arles are totally bilingual (French/English)
Press office: Claudine Colin Communication / Albane Champey
28 rue de Sévigné – 75004 Paris Tel: 33 (0)1 42726001 - Fax: 33 (0)1 42725023 e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening week : 7 > 12 July
Exhibitions from 8 July – 14 September (closing dates according to the exhibition venues after the end of August). Open: 10am–7pm.
Free admission: Grande Halle (except the Discovery Award), Stade Fournier, Galerie Arena, Banque de France, Hôtel d’Arlatan, Eglise Saint Blaise
5 €: Musée Départemental de l’Arles Antique, Henri Comte, Le Capitole, Bourse du travail
7 €: Eglise des Trinitaires, Eglise des Frères Prêcheurs, Eglise Sainte-Anne, Palais de l’Archevêché, Atelier de Maintenance, Atelier des Forges, Atelier de Mécanique, Grande Halle, Magasin Electrique