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Arles 2022 : Thomas Mailaender : Light Passion


Thomas Mailaender has been known as an exhibition maverick, a technical swashbuckler, a collector of curios, in short, something of an outlaw of art; now, he is presenting himself wearing two new hats: an industrious artist and a worksite foreman. He intends to plunge, mix, coat, light, expose, print, bind, project, recycle, destroy, and, while doing this, place all of these actions and gestures on display. A handcraft manufactory, therefore, in the middle of the Centre Photographique Marseille, a factory that runs full time and full throttle. While in museums, artworks are given at least one day’s rest to let them breathe, Mailaender will be working non-stop, 24/7, and with him a few extra hands and heads to help out.

Contrary to the standard model for encountering a work of art – a product of the artist’s genius, delivered as it emanates from their unique subjective perspective – here, rather than its finality alone, it is the entire creative process that is put into play before our eyes. In the tradition of Duchamp, who spoke of a “chain of reactions” to describe the work of the artist, Mailaender suggests his work is situated between the performed installation and the installed performance. It is, in essence, an artistic production unit that will be shown, within which art, in statu nascendi, does round the-clock shifts to give birth to results that have been subjected to the sequence of decisions, renunciations, failures and successes, the will of the materials, and the time spent in the lunch room over beers and pizza.

Let’s enter the joyful chaos that the artist has organised and named after one of the iconic photography shops from France’s “Trente Glorieuses” boom period: Lumière Passion. If anything, it should feel like a street carnival, the risky room of a budding chemist, or the teeming garage of an amateur inventor. One will see the happy stigmata of ceremonial work that is based on varying protocols that will have made it possible to produce books, monumental cyanotype prints that hang on the walls, a film, and other objects that will be sold just like everything else coming out of a factory.

Guillaume Blanc





This exhibition is part of the satellite program of the Rencontres d’Arles as part of the Grand Arles Express.

Thomas Mailaender : Lumière Passion
May 27 – September 10, 2022
Centre Photographique Marseille
2 rue Vincent Leblanc 13002 Marseille



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