Search for content, post, videos

Arles 2013: Diary of Ericka Weidmann


One week isn’t much to take in the whole festival programme… especially as the town is full of little exhibition spaces that are part of the Arles fringe, the Voies Off, or sometimes even the fringe of the fringe. In the streets of Arles, festival goers meet and exchange about what’s they’ve liked, what’s worth checking out, opinion tending to crystallise around certain exhibitions, with everyone apparently agreeing on the events that just can’t be missed: Guy Bourdin, Sergio Larrain, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Viviane Sassen and Gordon Parks…

Once opinions have been canvassed, those who running against the clock have to be pragmatic and head for what has been strongly recommended. It’s a practical and effective system! 
With the accent on black and white this year, my personal 2013 marathon included around 50 exhibitions. 
 With my guide in my pocket, I began my marathon, my pace dictated by my enthusiasm (or otherwise) for the photos on show. Some exhibitions suffer from including too much work and this means you tend to pick up the pace to get through them … 

Every now and then, you come across something that forces you to stop in your tracks, something that reminds you why you came and why you love photography. 
 No doubt about it, right at the top of my list comes the Gordon Parks retrospective, a first in France presented by the Méjan Association at the Magasin Electrique of the Parc des Ateliers. Une Histoire Américaine covers a lot of ground: the scenography has been well chosen to bring out a very well constructed story, with a judicious choice of images and texts introducing each chapter. You end up reading it all, taking great delight in discovering unpublished photos and rediscovering the icons. 
Le Méjan has put on an altogether convincing show this year, with the poignant work of Robin Hammond on Zimbabwe, recently awarded the Prix Carmignac, giving us a taste of Perpignan at Arles, and the monumental Daido Moriyama, with its presentation of large format contact sheets on a background of fishnet tights in black and white. 
At the Parc des Ateliers, the Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt certainly stands out with the amusing, left field take he has on the little things in life. Just as surprising are the impressive prints of the photos of Mars taken by Nasa and Transition, Social landscape, which brings together work on South Africa by twelve international photographers one hundred years after the Land Act, in a particularly successful mise-en-scene. Finally there’s the space dedicated to Jean-Michel Fauquet, which plunges you into the dark orange light of a strange and mysterious universe. 
At the Van Gogh foundation this year Guy Bourdin has pride of place. Intimate and personal, the exhibition exhumes the archives of this celebrated and provocative fashion photographer. With photographs presented in public for the first time, we discover, like forgotten treasure, his black and white Fifties work. The small photos, in contact sheet format, draw you in close, right inside, inviting you to contemplate each and every detail.

Ericka Weidmann

Create an account or log in to read more and see all pictures.

Install WebApp on iPhone
Install WebApp on Android