Arles Rencontres de la Photographie

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© DANIEL JACK LYONS | Wendell in Drag, July 2019, Like a river series. Courtesy Loose Joints and the artist.

VISIBLE OR INVISIBLE, A SUMMER REVEALED

Christoph Wiesner

Director of the Rencontres d’Arles

Saying that the summer of 2022 will be one of revelations seems almost like stating the obvious. How can we be made to see what is staring us in the face, but takes so long to appear, as if the revelation could only be a forced birth? Photography, photographers and artists who use the medium are there to remind us of what we want to neither hear nor see. Yet, as Emanuele Coccia recalls, “it is to the visible,to images, that man turns fora radical testimony of his own being, his own nature”.

Every summer, the Rencontres d’Arles seizes a condition, demands, criticizes, rebels against established standards and categories and shakes up the way we look at things from one continent to another, reminding us of our absolute need to exist.

Photography captures our existence in all its aspects, but it has not always mirrored the incredible richness and diversity of the artists. A long process of recognizing women photographers has been under way for about 40 years. Continuing the festival’s commitment, this year many venues will host shows reflecting their influence

and creativity, from historic figures to forgotten or poorly known artists and today’s emerging young talents.

A Feminist Avant-garde of the 1970s, an exhibition at the Atelier de la Mécaniqueof the Verbund Collection,which has never been seen before in France, features performative practices common worldwide. The outcome of 18 years of research, the show focuses on women who used photography as a major means of expression and emancipation to, as Lucy Lippard says, revolt “against the cult of male genius or the hegemony of painting for a radical reinvention of the image of women by women”. From Cindy Sherman to ORLAN, Helena Almeida and Martha Wilson, a whole generation of female photographers paved the way for consciousness and recognition.

Dance and performance in 1970s New York meet inÉglise Sainte-Anne. Filmmaker-photographer Babette Mangolte documented the exciting scene there, where works by Trisha Brown, Richard Foreman, Lucinda Childs, Robert Wilson and Simon Forti, to name just a few, were performed. She developed a language based on the camera’s subjectivity, where the viewer plays a key role in the work and in the body’s relationship to space. Closer to us, another performance unfolds in front of Susan Meiselas’s camera:captured gestures of fragments of aging bodies meet the music of Marta Gentilucci. In this composition for four hands, energy and beauty transcend the passage of time.

This summer, visitors again make their way to places like the Salle Henri-Comte, where they can see the singular work of Bettina Grossman, who has lived in the legendary Chelsea Hotel since 1970. Bettina has based her shape-shifting work ona complex self-referencing system integrating photographs, videos, sculptures, paintings and textile design revealed by Yto Barrada at her side.

Arles
France
July 4, 2022
|
September 25, 2022
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