This year, the Rencontres are changing the Discovery Award by involving galleries. Among the close to 200 candidatures, ten projects were selected to be exhibited. Over the opening week, professionals will vote to grant the New Discovery Award, which rewards the artist and her gallery with 20,000 euros. The acquired works will be integrated into the Rencontres d’Arles collection. Among the ten selected, we chose Juliette Agnel represented by Galerie Françoise Paviot.
In what way is ethnography fundamental in your process?
I was doing a two years Masters that I never finished… This discipline is important for questioning meeting, the other, and exploring “other worlds”. My course on Dogon art at university was a shock. I saw many films, by Rouch particularly. Then I left for the Dogon Country (Mali) for four months, then three months with my Super-8 movie camera and a still camera. I was fascinated by these Wagnerian landscapes and starry skies. There were also a lot of invisible things, many places loaded with telluric force, a very lively animism. I continued with reading explorers , the latest being Charcot and Paul-Emil Victor, in the Great North…
In what way has photography changed your vision of the world? Or changed you?
Photography lets me transform reality taking the raw material in this reality. I’m not interested in documenting a place, a person, but rather passing on what it echoes for me, in the invisible. I’m able to pass on the vision that I have surrounding me. Simple things, minuscule, in space and in beings, that are a part of them. For me, photography is a way to communicate with others, show what I see and how I see at the same time, and also a way to put a finger on an intangible space, getting closer to an intimate and personal search. I am my archeologist. I excavate virgin territory in each new series, and I try to bring back something even more deeply buried. It’s a way to give myself the floor and to share with others. I see photography, or my relationship with art, rather (because the tool is not an ends for me, just a means), as the culmination of expressing my interiority. It’s a vital need. It changes my relationship to life in my daily routine, but also, it lets me work on interiority. To have access to a spiritual world.
Tell us about the series you are presenting at Arles…
Nighttime is a series of images of stars presented in light boxes. The sky, in relation to the silent, desert-like landscapes. It’s about the infinitely large and the infinitely small. An understanding of our relativity when faced with the immensity of space. There is a strangeness that prevails in these images. As if it were an imaginary, lunar landscape.
Interview by Sophie Bernard
Juliette Agnel is presenting six images in Arles. We are showing you three from her series Nighttime and five from her series Laps, an older work made with Super-8 film made in Niger, the Côte d’Ivoire, and in Guinea between 2003 and 2005. The images from Laps are screenshots from the Super-8 footage.
Juliette Agnel, Nighttime
Festival des Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles 2017
From July 3 through September 24, 2017
Atelier de la mécanique