Exhibitions Coverage by SEBI BERENS
What an opening week! The capital of the Camargue, Arles opened up the “Rencontres d’Arles” 2017. The summer photo festival in the South-East of France takes place since 1970 and presents more than 40 exhibitions in the heart of the city. As the British Journal of Photography stated, the festival remains as one of the “most important photography festivals in the world”.
With the 48th edition of the Rencontres d’Arles, the program has a broad, widespread content. From the 3rd of July until the 24th of September, 250 artists present their work in around 25 sites. The organizer opened up two new sites next to the Boulevard Émile Combes.
By presenting a special place in Colombia, Colombian photographers show up their work, and the visitor gets experiences out of the South American continent. Even a Columbian Party took place after the “Oh!Latina!” opening night on Monday, the third.
For many guests, the main focus has been on the presence of Annie Leibowitz. Among the “Early Year Project, 1970-1983”, that shows the widespread meaning of a photographer’s life, she displayed her work on the Night-Theater alone on stage on Thursday evening and stated out her various experiences of her life as a portraitist of the stars. Divided into eight “Rooms”, the “Early Years, 1970-1983” exhibition gives a deep insight in the life of Annie Leibovitz. It is an experiment to show up around 40-80 pictures of her work in each room, it gives a feeling of what it means to photograph everything you see and what can happen if you carry your camera with you all your life. By working for the Rolling Stone magazine, you can actually go through the history of the VIPs all along that time. As the curator Matthieu Humery stated out, her work can be seen as “an archaeology of the self and a re-examination of history”. All her life she had the chance to go deeply into the life of the celebrities, but she photographed them sincerely and through a personal and a dignified eye.
The Photo Folio Review, inaugurated in 2006, offers portfolio reviews during the opening week. 2016 around 120 professionals analyzed personal portfolios in a one to one discussion and offers the professional’s, photo students and experienced amateur photographers the chance go get a professional opinion about their own work. With Candrowicz Krzysztof, the curator of the Triennial of Photography in Hamburg, Guillaume Fontaine, from the Center Photographique D’Île-De-France to Ruth Eichhorn, an independent curator, that worked as a Director of Photography at the German GEO magazine, the offer of professionals during the review is highly decorated. For the price of 195€, the participants take part on 5 reviews. An amount of money that is not easy to take for everybody, especially in the beginning, but surely effective to their career and finally offers one selected participant the chance to win Le Laurent du Photo Folio Review.
There are a few solo shows by Joel Meyerowitz, Michael Wolf, Gideon Mendel, Alex Majoli and Roger Ballen and are curated and presented in different and individual sites, like churches and renovated apartments.
British photographer Guy Martin shows up with a special project on Turkish realities and fantasies, “The Parallel State”, featured on bp-online this year. By working with different mediums and a real exhibited office of a Turkish-security officer, the project gets its wide feeling of this controversial situation.
On Tuesday the 2017 Book Awards of the festival announced this year’s winner. “Ville de Calais” from Henk Wilfschut won the author book award, Kent Klich received a special mention in the works in Gaza. Also, the winners of the LUMA Recontres Dummy Book Award, Olga Kravets, Maria Morina, Anna Shpakova and Oksana Yushko were announced. The prize is awarded for the best book layout.
Two more exhibitions really had an impressive character. Michael Wolf, an “ex-photojournalist” as Wim van Sinderen introduced him, exhibit his work “Life In The Cities” in the old Church “Eglise Des Freres Precheurs”. The curator Wim van Sinderen worked out a special presentation, that perfectly works with the character of the site. The Retrospective starts with his graduation project about the day to day life of Bottrop in the West-German area. Large prints showing his project the “Architecture of Density” and a “Real Toy Story” installation features over 20.000 plastic “Made in China” toys. The concept shows up “the complexity, the specialty and human body of the modern city life”, van Sinderen states out.