This is the first time that I have visited this small town in the Camargue. After a 5 hour train ride from Paris, I am finally under the sun ready to discover this festival that I have been hearing about for so long …!
City of images, which has always marked the film, Arles is reinventing itself by betting today on the ultra contemporary.
I quickly understand that it is discovered while walking … So follow me!
12:15 pm – Welcomed by Camille, I drop off my suitcase at La Maison Fragonard, a very pretty guest house which has just opened and where I will be staying.
1 p.m. – Direction LUMA where I meet Sacha Golberger and his little family. The building impresses us a lot. We get lost and arrived at the 2nd floor, the children who sleep in us do not resist trying the toboggan that goes down to the ground floor … Then direction the archives where we can discover images of Annie Leibowitz, Nan Goldin before letting ourselves be tempted by the 3D experience in outdoor buildings …
3:30 p.m. – Behind the scenes of a legendary train with a guided tour of “Orient Express & Co” in the company of exhibition curators Éva Gravayat and Arthur Mettetal at the Espace Van Gogh.
5.30pm – Rendez-vous place du Forum to meet friends who are regulars of the festival and ask them for some wise advice! so much to see so little time.
8:30 p.m. – I meet the Golberger at La Gueule du Loup, a charming little relaxed bistronomic restaurant. The opportunity to meet their friends Tomas and Bea from the Tobe Gallery in Budapest for whom this is not a first in Arles, but this time it is quite different, because they are not participating as exhibitors. But the feeling was more or less the same because meeting people from the international photographic scene makes them grow on all levels, they explained to me, as they still have work to do in their country where photography is not yet appreciated for its true value!
9:00 am – Breakfast on the terraced roof of Maison Fragonard. I take advantage of this wonderful time, answer a few emails and prepare for my day.
10:00 am – The exhibition marathon begins. There is so much to see, I sort it out according to what I want to see and the various comments …
I start with Sabine Weiss, a must-see at the Chapel of the Arlaten Museon. Her images are moving and full of humanity.
And “The-new-black-vanguard”, an exhibition between art and fashion which presents fifteen artists, whose images merge genres in such a way as to break down long-established boundaries … Interesting, even if all did not meet the challenge
1 p.m. – Lunch with Jean-Jacques and Shiva Naudet at the Galoubet, the address for all the photography intelligentsia. The place is welcoming, pleasant company … we talk about everything and nothing, and the continuation of our collaboration by exchanging a few ideas.
3:30 pm – Head to the Archbishop’s Palace to see the work of Pieter Hugo: “Being Present”
many strong and touching images.
Then nearby Anton Kusters’ “Thousand and Seventy Blue Skies”… Beautiful staging, conceptual work, but which does not move me..
5 pm – Meeting in the gardens of the Hotel Arlatan with Fiammetta Horvat for my weekly “Questionnaire”. The place is amazing, revisited by the American-Cuban artist Jorge Pardo. Even if the opinions on the place differ, I love it. 600 m2 of hand-made mosaic and lighting available in a palette of bright colors dear to the designer. The address is colorful and resolutely turned towards openness to contemporary art.
6 p.m. – Direction Monoprix ( super market), not to do my shopping, but to go upstairs to discover the exhibition devoted to the work of Charlotte Perriand, offering a dive into her conception of the world through her working method and her incredible collection of photographs, her archives are shown to the public for the first time.
8:00 am – Breakfast at Le Cloitre, a charming boutique hotel revisited by India Mahdavi around a play of materials and contrasts that she maintains associating shades of blue, yellow and green. The result does not leave you indifferent.
9h00 – I start the day with the exhibition that everyone has told me about: “Masculinity”… we discover the way in which masculinity has been coded, interpreted and socially constructed since the 1960s. More than 50 artists, photographers and international directors express for us their representations of masculinity. About power, patriarchy, queer identity, racial politics, women’s perception of men, etc. Probably one of the best exhibitions of these Meetings!
For those who love Jazz, the Jazz Power à la Croisière exhibition is a must. It tells us the story of Jazz magazine, which at the time of its creation promoted black counterculture and jazz values by honoring black artists during the era of racial segregation in the United States.
Still at La Croisiere, a little leap back in time .. spent with Reeve Schmacher, who for several years has been collecting vinyl records of Mireille Mathieu, whose image fascinates him. Revisited in the form of a pixelated collage, the singer’s LP covers create an anachronistic bridge between a raw material from the analog era – the vinyl record – and a digital rendering. The two installations carried out in situ are an extension of optical and kinetic art. Surprising but interesting!
Passage through the Anne Clergue Gallery to see the exhibition “Like a Bird” of Joanna-Maria Fritz and that of Marella Oppenheim on Peter Beard
Meeting with Lea Lund and Erick K a stone’s throw from their Galerie rue du Docteur Fanton. Impossible not to notice this couple of nomadic artists, atypical and infinitely sympathetic they are so stylish… making their life an artistic performance of which photography is the medium… She is a photographer, he poses, china, customize, etc… Their activities are complementary their works merge into each other and they form one!
8:30 p.m – I decide to get lost in the city in search of a restaurant to have dinner. While walking on the banks of the Rhône I meet Clément (Marion), a young 24 years old passionate photographer. We have bumped into each other several times over the past few days. Behind his funny box, an Afghan Box (which is nothing other than a photographic device dedicated to photography) he spent his days photographing passers-by who were willing. The object intrigues me, I ask him to tell me about it, to explain to me what had led him to practice photography in this way … because taking the time to take his time is not a common practice, especially with our young friends! One thing led to another, we continued our conversation around a dinner at Le Chardon, a restaurant that offers a different resident chef every summer, making this place one of the most popular with enthusiasts of the ephemeral and renewal.
On our way out we meet some of his friends who offer us a nightcap … the opportunity to discover their work at the Docks. We fell in love with the very aesthetic images from the series “Le Mythe d´Osiris” by Frédéric Roulot.
9:30 am – Breakfast at the North Pinus where I meet and chat with some acquaintances…
10:30 am – Fancy shopping and a little detour to the “Moustique” shop. This is the concept store everyone is talking about! It revisits the traditional imagery of Arles and the Camargue.
11 am – Even though I generally hate being photographed, I agree to do violence to myself and have my portrait taken by Clément and his afghan box… and I am rather pleasantly surprised at the result… yes, yes !!! Judge by yourself 😉
11:30 am – Let’s go for a few OFF exhibitions
- The Sikh Biker photo of Etienne Racine plastered in the streets of Arles made me want to see more, so head to 17, rue du Cloitre. I discover heterogeneous and aesthetic images. But also a style that sits at the crossroads of the intimate and the public. The eye of the photographer is sharp!
- At the Alain Sinibaldi gallery, it is above all “Book worm” that catches my attention. A creation by Thomas Mailaender & Erik Kessels two men who take the absurd and the ridiculous very, very seriously. The completed book is slowly eaten by very hungry , silverfish, termites and other book loving insects… Surprising!
- At the Domus Reattu Gallery: “Prayers” a series of photos taken by Francois Laxalt in the Paris metro which shows us that depending on the context and the culture, prayer is above all a reflection on oneself.
- Direction La Place des Photographes where I discover Harold Herman’s work “Liberté Egalité Fraternité”, a triptych that makes an aesthetic proposal for reflection around these notions that are so familiar to us. But also “When the ghosts of New York invite themselves to Arles” … an exhibition to the sound of the subway noises of the megalopolis which can be visited with a torch in hand, it feels like it …
5:20 p.m – The time for departure has come. Back to Paris where, 4 hours later, I am welcomed by the rain!
La Gueule du Loup
39 rue des Arènes
35-37 rue des Arènes
18 Rue du Dr Fanton
06 74 82 65 27
L’Hotel Nord Pinus
14, Place du Forum
20, rue du Sauvage
14 Rue du Dr Fanton