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Arles 2024 : Serge Assier : Lumière du Corps Poésie de la Lumière


Our friend Serge Assier (this man is everyone’s friend among the magicians of photography) is one of the most emblematic characters of the Rencontres Photographiques. After more than fifty years devoted to photography, he will exhibit his works in Arles for the forty-ninth time. Few of us (I personally don’t know any others) can display such a track record and such consistency. A great Provencal photographer, with a colourful earthiness, Serge has distinguished himself in his art over several generations and in a multitude of specialties. His daily journalistic reports, his coverage of major events such as in Cannes where he was a major operator, his current portraits of very diverse personalities, are offered to us by this talented freelance sales rep photographer.

Like some of the Provençal tenors orbiting around the city of Arles, he always knew how to take an interest in his colleagues and push forward those who did not dare too much.

I think this introduction is necessary. Because everyone knows Serge Assier, a companion who is as friendly as he is discreet; but, few know the extent of his work and of his images used around the world.

Concerned about the future of his enormous photographic collection, he has just been informed that the Media Library of Heritage and Photography has decided to take responsibility for the sustainability of his works.

I arrived at the 2024 exhibition. Few people, outside the circle, knew the very special links that Serge maintains with literature and some great authors like René Char or Michel Butor. If all his writer friends were immortalized in some of his famous portraits, he also worked more intimately on creations in symbiosis with them.

It is this photographic work of research and creation which is exhibited this year in Arles, a chance for us to discover this work.

These mirrored photographic poems, poems written on paper by René Char, Dominique Siampiero or Michel Butor, are, through technique and photographic spontaneity, the pictorial side of instant poetry. The imprecision, the photographic slippage respond, point by point, to an uncertainty or lexical absence of the texts.

Whether voluntary (it’s high class) or involuntary (more than half a century playing with light), the photographs sing the texts without ever translating or betraying them. The result is before our eyes.

You’ll love it, you’ll hate it; so, you will enter this exhibition, whatever your age or your photographic skills. This year, it seems impossible to be in Arles without stopping by to see Serge Assier’s photographs.

Thierry Maindrault



Serge Assier
La Galerie Ephémère
13 rue de l’hôtel de ville
13200 Arles

everyday from 09:00 am to 07:00,
open from July 01 until August 24, 2024.

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