Saturday, July 2. A local girl , as beautiful as a Van Gogh portrait, standing at the door of the Ateliers, points towards the Frank Gehry building rising from the ground: “It’s a sublime project, isn’t it? Arles will be completely transformed.” A hundred meters on, in the entrance to the Atelier des Forges, I encounter another young couple, also locals, and just as beautiful and enthusiastic. These reactions are wonderful! I used to think of the youth of Arles as the type of people who would boo from the back rows of the Théâtre Antique. But it’s true that Maja Hoffmann and her foundation are transforming the city. What is rising from the ground is a one-of-a-kind, multidimensional, contemporary art center which will engage the local public.
“I had two things in mind doing this project: that it does not stagnate as foundation-run projects often do, and that it remain green, that is, that it be closely tied to its environment. It is amazing how the history of this family is intimately intertwined with the city and the Camargue region. Equally amazing is the story behind the Ateliers which unites the period of the prewar railroad to the saga of modern art.
Matthieu Humery, one of Maja’s collaborators, offers the most insightful explanation of how her mind works. Maja is more fascinated by the process of creation and experimentation than by the results. The works she wants to show do not exist once they have been produced and have no existence outside their well-defined space and time. She is not really a collector but rather accumulates ongoing projects to then share.”
So how does photography fit into all this? Its transformation seems to have begun this year.
As most of you know, but I will insist on repeating it because I’m very proud and grateful, Maja Hoffman is the most generous sponsor who has offered the most loyal support to the Eye of Photography, and we are pleased to dedicate this final day of the Rencontres to her Luma Foundation!