Les Rencontres d’Arles 2022 — Selections
It took us a while but we managed to have this special ‘Selections’ ready for this month. After the busy and excitement of the Arles opening week we decided to organise our ideas and bring you, not just highlights of the festival, but also some photographers that we consider their work will stand out in the next few years.
There were a lot of exhibitions that really blew our minds. From the stunning presentation of Noémie Goudal at Église des Trinitaires (which we included in our latest ‘Insights’), to the wonderfully curated exhibition at Mécanique Générale entitled: A Feminist Avant-Gard, which included a strong selection of photographs and performances of the 1970s from The Verbund Collection. In short, our first year at Arles has left us highly satisfied and we can’t wait to see what will come next for all the artists.
Unfortunately we cannot include everything that we loved in this article, but we promise you will find inspiration in their projects as much as we do.
Artist and sociologist, Frida Orupabo uses mainly collage in her works. The idea of reassembling plays a vital role in her practice as it’s the core of the collage technique, but also has a deep symbolic value for the artist. By depicting disassembled bodies of black women and putting them together to create a new image, Frida denounces the brutality that women have been subjected to in painting throughout history. With her works, she deconstructs the objectification of women, establishing a subtle form of resistance where a lot of delicate details can be discovered.
Frida Orupabo (b. 1986, Norway)
How Fast Shall We Sing
at Mecanique Generale
Entitled ‘Songs of the Sky’, the group exhibition at Monoprix encompasses the study of a common network: the cloud. Almost everything that is captured on camera, such as satellite images, surveillance videos, or photographs that we take with our smartphones, are registered on the cloud, which works as a network in constant updating of our data. One of the works that stood out for us was an installation by Evan Roth which was formed by several screens that showed videos from coastlines from all over the world. His films usually explore the actual communication technologies and this one in particular shows places where the infrastructure of the ‘cloud’ leaves the ocean through infrared light and underwater links.
Evan Roth (b. 1978, United States)
Songs of the Sky
There were a lot of good projects at The Louis Roederer Discovery Award. Among all of them we personally decided to highlight Waha by Moroccan artist Seif Kousmate. The project focuses on what has been happening with the oases in the last years due to the continuous environmental changes. Progressively they have been decreasing and currently, confront desertification. By staining his photographs with acid, Seif expresses how these once naturally rich areas have been transformed. His series tells in a really subtle way the reality of oases, which involve ecological, economical and social contemporary issues.
Seif Kousmate (b. 1988, Morocco)
The Louis Roederer Discovery Award
at Eglise des Freres Precheurs
The Saint-Trophime Cloister was one of the first stops of our stay in Arles. The beautiful series by Sathish Kumar caught our attention as it was an artist that I’ve never heard about before. Town Boy is basically a compendium of ordinary views of life in South India. The series has an aura of a private diary from somebody that needs to seek relief in his roots. When Sathish moved to a bigger city, he figured out the importance of his natal town and decided to reconnect with its nature and origins through the most common instants which will put him in perspective to understand his gradual transformation.
Sathish Kumar (b. 1986, India)
at Cloitre Saint-Trophime
Julien Lombardi got fascinated by the Wirikuta region, a desert valley located in Mexico, a rich land where Huichol Indians established their culture based in polytheism and a particular ancient mythology. His project immerse the viewer in the ethnical, archeological and biological aspects that shaped this land. Having a researching approach to its subject of study, Julien uses video, installations and photographs to capture a reality that evokes fantastic realism.
Julien Lombardi (b. 1980, France)
The Land Where the Sun was Born
In southern Chile, the replacement of autochtone trees is having a strong impact on biodiversity. Bit by bit, the rainforests have been replaced by cultives of one tree variety like pines or eucalyptus, in order to favour the paper pulp industry. We also have to add the exploitation and traffic of natural resources by the army and private militias, which is creating a dual ecosystem that clashes itself. The photographic project by Ritual Inhabitual tells how the Mapuches fight to save the biodiversity of these areas and also brings up a debate about the consequences of numerous ecological and political decisions that are favouring a society of massive consumption.
Geometric Forests: Struggles on Mapuche Lands
at Chapelle Saint-Martin du Mejan