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Arles 2021 : My Week at Arles by Ghislain Pascal


Finally back to seeing, living and breathing culture after almost two empty years. Here are my highlights and disappointments from Arles 2021.

A wonderful week … Now to Photo London, Unseen Amsterdam, and Paris Photo!

Ghislain Pascal



1) MASCULINITIES: Liberation Through Photography, at La Mecanique Generale

The most impressive, conclusive and constructive exhibition at Arles 2021. Expertly curated by Alona Pardo. Originally shown at the Barbican, London. Featuring some of my favourites: Adi Ness, Peter Hujar and Sunil Gupta. This is what an exhibition should be.


2) LE BLEU DU CIEL by Edouard Taufenbach and Régis Campo at Galerie La Belle

Winners of the 2020 Swiss Life 4-Hands Prize this delightful exhibition of swallows was for me the best show presentation. I want one!

3) BLUE SKIES by ANTON KUSTERS at Cloitre de Saint-Trophime

A seminal work by Kusters curated by Monica Allende in the perfect and calm setting of the Cloitre de Saint-Trophime. Duly bought the beautiful book by Kehrer Verlag.


4) BEING PRESENT by PIETER HUGO at Palais de L’Archeveche

I’ve always been a fan of Pieter Hugo – as someone who spends several months every year in South Africa. This series of portraits only cements my love of his work.


5) NEW MEN by Bert Van Pelt at L’Atelier, 13 rue Barremes

Softness and sensuality – this is what you discover in Van Pelt’s photography of nude men. I loved his new works created by asking his models to send him videos during lockdown and then converting them into studies of motion (in the style of Eadweard Muybridge).


6) EROS & PHOTOGRAPHY – Part 1: BEHIND DESIRE by CHAUSSEE36 at Fondation Manuel Rivera-Ortiz

An edited version of their exhibition from Berlin – this beautifully curated exhibition by Mathilde Leroy exploring eroticism in art really stood out for me. Let’s give them a bigger space next year for Part 2?

7) PETER BEARD by MARELLA OPPENHEIM at Anne Clergue Gallery

A fun series of intimate pictures of the legendary Peter Beard, just over a year since his death, during his visit to Arles with Oppenheim in 1984  he had been invited by Anne’s father Lucien Clergue founder of the Rencontres d’Arles. I particularly liked the artworks illustrated by Solomon Wasimigo, one of the illustrators of Peter Beard’s photographs.


8) THE ART OF COLOR DIOR – Prix Dior de la Photographie et des Arts Visuels pour Jeunes Talents, at Parc des Ateliers

An impressive collection of entries for the fourth year of this wonderful competition. My favourite was Xia Ye.


9) JAZZ POWER! Jazz Magazine: Twenty Years In The Avant-Garde (1954-1974)

A must see for any fan of jazz – including photographs by my friend and living legend Jean-Marie Périer.



10) THE NEW BLACK VANGUARD: Photography Between Art And Fashion at Eglise Sainte-Anne

Long overdue and a welcome addition to Arles. Disappointed only in the sense that it was too safe and alike for me. But beautifully presented and well worth a visit.

11) LOUIS ROEDERER DISCOVERY AWARD at Eglise des Freres-Precheurs

Should be better …. make good use of Dior’s competition! Tarrah Krajnak the deserving winner (in my opinion!).



Ghislain Pascal

co-founder of The Little Black Gallery (London) and editor and curator of BOYS! BOYS! BOYS!






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