Rencontres d’Arles 2022: five photo exhibitions not to be missed
We took a trip to Les Rencontres d’Arles, the world’s leading photography festival, to scout out the best photography exhibitions under the sun this year
performing, experimenting, emerging, reunion, exploring and witnessing; this is how the Rencontres d’Arles categorized this year’s impressive curation of 40 exhibitions with 165 artists. Scattered around the city’s charming streets (aside from a few satellite shows), works are exhibited in unexpected contexts, from 12th-century chapels and cloisters to the floor above a Monoprix supermarket. Like the summer heat in southern France, photography found its way into city life from July 4th to September 25th. Also not to be missed in the city is Arthur Jafa’s impressive Live Evil exhibition, which is on display at Luma Arles.
5 must-see photo exhibitions for the Rencontres d’Arles 2022
Katrien de Blauwer
“The Pictures She Shows Nobody”
Katrien de Blauwer, Beginning (62)2020 Courtesy of Les filles du calvaire gallery and Fifty One gallery
While Katrien De Blauwer’s compositions are already seductively ambiguous in print or on canvas, she takes her collected narratives to another level when she sees them in person. De Blauwer works with images from her magazine archive and explains: “I’m a photographer without a camera. Cutting, to me, is akin to clicking the shutter button.” While her montages anonymize—a disembodied foot peeks out from under a skirt, paired with a murmur—her size offers intimacy, inviting the viewer to explore every thoughtful snippet, glue, and color to look at up close. For the Style September 2018 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.
Luke Hoffman, Bronx River AveNew York, 2016. Courtesy of the artist
When you walk through Lukas Hoffmann’s exhibition, you imagine what it’s like to walk as Hoffman himself. His work is at least partially elusive in the two chronological approaches of the presentation. One distils a series of large scale polyptychs and offers continuous views along the side of a scrapped container branded ‘EVERGREEN’. The annually peeling paint on each letter is consistently documented. In contrast, the large format is used hands-free, often without looking into the viewfinder. Fleeting compositions emerge as a pedestrian precedes Hoffmann and the viewer follows.
Eglise Des Trinitaires, Arles
Noemie Goudal. phoenix VI, 2021 Courtesy of the Les Filles du Calvaire gallery and the artist
Exploring spatiotemporal vastness and post-anthropocentric modalities of being, Noémie Goudal’s showcase Rencontres d’Arles is impressive. in the under the deep south segmented images of tropical fauna burn across the screen, revealing ever more photographic layers that shift the landscapes on screen as a questioning of fire’s potential to renew and destroy. while in breath in, breath out, a swamp breathes in and out 3 m high images of banana trees and other flora, as an expression of Goudal’s philosophy that the earth is an organism that follows a temporality distinct from the brief but destructive existence of mankind. In the series Phoenix, illusionary palm groves put the environment in a continuous flow. Overall, Goudal’s deconstructive and performative strategies create deep reflections on our world.
Carré d’Art, Nimes
Sam Contis, trust exercise2018 With the kind permission of the artist and the gallery Klaus von Nichtssagend
With the expressive documentary by Sam Contis, the viewers of Rencontres d’Arles are taken into the world of their protagonist; a powerful effect when we consider the complex role of photography in the construction of place and self. In “Transit” finely scaled gelatine prints are combined with large-format color photographs from the three series that can be seen in the Carré d’Art. In one, historically referenced images of a high school girl’s cross-country team reference the passage of time while political and personal tensions lurk in the background. The next gallery travels to the English countryside, absorbing styles in the context of limits and freedom. deep springs Here the show ends as Contis explores the mythologies of the Midwest and men through enigmatic images of one of the last all-male colleges in the United States.
“Moment of Affection”
Château La Coste, Le Puy-Sainte-Reparade
Mary McCartney, hug treesSussex, 2021. Courtesy of the artist
Love, longing and sorrow come together in Mary McCartney’s “Moment of Affection” at Rencontres d’Arles in a candid collection of visual memories. She describes how the exhibition took shape during the pandemic hiatus: “I took my time, going through every contact sheet and photo in my archive… found simple moments full of emotion. And here they are.’ Set in the stunning “Bastide” of Château La Coste, walking through the gallery is an intimate reflection on the full spectrum of affection, both in McCartney’s and our own lives as viewers. §