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Rencontres d’Arles celebrates the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie
US photographer Elliott Erwitt, 84, visits the exhibition "Gypsies" (Gitans) of Czech photographer Josef Koudelka, during the 43rd annual Rencontres d'Arles photography festival in Arles, southern France. The event runs until September 23. Both are members of US Magnum photography agency. AFP PHOTO/GERARD JULIEN.

ARLES.- The Rencontres d’Arles is one of the world’s leading international photography festivals. The festival has been playing a major part in achieving recognition for photography as an art form. Every summer since 1970, the Rencontres d’Arles presents 60 different exhibitions in 20 exceptional heritage sites in Arles, South of France.

Thanks to a programming policy that almost entirely favours unpublished works, the Rencontres d’Arles has been a major influence in disseminating the best of world photography and has earned a world-wide reputation. In 2011, there were 84 000 visitors to the festival.

In the vein of the Düsseldorf and Yale schools, the Rencontres d’Arles dedicates this year’s programme to the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie (ENSP) in Arles to celebrate its 30th anniversary. This 43rd edition of the Rencontres d’Arles presents works by its founders and teachers (Alain Desvergnes, Arnaud Claass, Christian Milovanoff), as well as photographers (Tadashi Ono, Grégoire Alexandre, Bruno Serralongue, Olivier Metzger…) and curators who have emerged from this influential school, revealing a great range of styles and talents. These will be presented alongside the international Prix Découverte 2012, The Jan Mulder Collection and monographic exhibitions dedicated to great foreign artists who have chosen to work in France, such as Josef Koudelka, Amos Gitaï and Klavdij Sluban.

The opening week of the Rencontres d’Arles (from 2-8 July 2012) involves many photography events in historic parts of the city. On this occasion, Arles turns into the “Cannes for photography”, with an ambitious programme of evening screenings in the Théâtre Antique, symposiums and discussions, Photo Folio reviews, photo workshops…

In 2012, the now famous screening evenings in the Théâtre Antique, which last year welcomed an average of 2, 700 people a night, will be dedicated to the photographers of the Magnum Photos Agency as the 2012 Annual General Meeting of Magnum Photos will exceptionally be held in Arles, instead of London.

Following last year’ presentation of a major work by 2011 Prix Pictet winner Mitch Epstein at Arles, the Rencontres d’Arles are delighted to host the first public announcement of the 2012 shortlist for Prix Pictet at a special evening screening at the Théâtre Antique of Arles, on Wednesday 4 July 2012.


The Jan Mulder Collection

Aesthetically stark and intensely personal, the Jan Mulder photography Collection from Lima, focuses on the work of outstanding contemporary Latin American photographers. Jan Mulder studied Photojournalism at Boston University, in the USA, before embarking in international business in the mid-seventies. His collection of photographs highlights South American issues while recognizing subjects at stake in a larger international scope.
Curator: Jorge Villacorta

Joseph Koudelka
On the occasion of a new revised and enhanced version of the original 1975 dummy of Gypsies, this exhibition will focus on the 109 photographs taken by Josef Koudelka between 1962 and 1971. This special project, which impacted the 20th century history of photography is presented at Arles for the first time.

Amos Gitaï
Trained as an architect, Amos Gitaï is an internationally renowned film director. His powerful and varied body of work combines documentaries (House, Wadi, Home: News from House) and fiction films (Kadosh, Kippur, Kedma, Disengagement, Later...). His films have received awards at many festivals and have been the subject of several retrospectives (Centre Pompidou, MoMA). His installation at Arles will be presented at the Église des Frères Prêcheurs.

Klavdij Sluban & Laurent Tixador
Klavdij Sluban, photographer, and Laurent Tixador, visual artist, are the first recipients of the Atelier des Ailleurs residency set in the Kerguelen Islands, a unique place without a permanent population and almost exclusively taken over by a scientific community. This exhibition presents their works created during this 3 months residency, during which the duo mingled in with the daily life of the scientific teams, following the rhythm of expeditions.

This section will present solo exhibitions by upcoming and established photographers, who have emerged from this influential school, revealing the strengths inherent to the school’s curriculum, offering new pathways and resources for thinking about art, photography, the image and its future. Alumni include:

Olivier Metzger – ENSP 2004
Between a new kind of documentary and fictional narrative, Olivier Metzger’s work follows a complex and endearing character who leads us to her favourite haunts, in Europe or on the other side of the Atlantic. This character leads us in her wake as images of daytime scenes and nocturnal tableaux go by, from her intimate sphere to public spaces where she appears, exposes and tries to find herself.

Brigitte Bauer – ENSP 1990
Brigitte Bauer’s images depict a divide between the strong attention she pays to architecture, and a deep interest in the surrounding landscape. On the one hand we discern a focus on design, construction, spatial composition, all of which call for a certain abstraction and on the other, an emphasis on that which makes a place specific and an instant unique.

Tadashi Ono – ENSP 1991
On 11 March 2011, at 2.46 pm, a huge earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale, struck Tohoku, a coastal region in northeast Japan. The quake’s epicentre was off the Sanriku coast, filled with fishermen. The tsunami that followed destroyed almost all the inhabited areas along the coast and created apocalyptic scenes leading to the deaths of nearly 20,000 people. These photographs document Tadashi Ono’s travels along the devastaded coast eight months after the Fukushima, Iwate and Miyagi disasters.

Valérie Jouve – ENSP 2007
This exhibition focuses on the parallels between Marseilles (France) and Jericho (West Bank), not as a point of comparison but as a conversation between the two cities, in order to tackle the more abstract issues of rhythm, light and, most particularly, time. For Valérie Jouve, “these two cities allow me to visually manufacture possible utopias. And the aim of this exhibition will be to construct this spatiotemporal utopia, the possibility of another space, the combination of two cities, like the proposition of a new common space.”

Aurore Valade – ENSP 2005
Aurore Valade builds her photographs around her models’ stories and tales. She stages their daily lives, questioning our ways of life and our private spaces. The photographs in this exhibition are constructed according to three classical painting genres: the portrait, interior scenes and vedute. Each composition is the fruit of a meticulous labour of photomontage and retouching. Despite these technical interventions and redefinitions, the photographs remain faithful to the actual moment when they were taken.

Grégoire Alexandre – ENSP 1995
Well established within the publishing and advertising industries, Grégoire Alexandre fabricates parallel worlds, created from strips of Sellotape, scraps of paper and studio accessories: polyboards, booms, umbrellas and reflectors. Pieces of designer clothing, a few strings and some light, sit outside the frame or surreptitiously enter it creating “mises en scenes” that are all about gesture. Delicate like Origamis, these shapes suddenly become fantastic animals, revealing territories where fable and poetry unfold.

This section presents solo exhibitions by other photographers such as Édouard Beau (2011), Jean-Christophe Béchet (1988), Olivier Cablat (2003), Sébastien Calvet (1998), Monique Deregibus & Arno Gisinger (1987 & 1994), Vincent Fournier (1997), Marina Gadonneix (2002), Sunghee Lee (2008), Isabelle Le Minh (1996), Mireille Loup (1994), Alexandre Maubert (2009), Mehdi Meddaci (2006), Joséphine Michel (2005), Erwan Morère (2010), Tadashi Ono (1991), Bruno Serralongue (1993), Dorothée Smith (2010), Bertrand Stofleth & Geoffroy Mathieu (2002 & 1999), Pétur Thomsen (2004) and Jean-Louis Tornato (1996) and a very unusual attention to ENSP 2012 Graduates.

Alain Desvergnes

One of the founders of the ENSP, Alain Desvergnes’ series “Landscapes as Portraits / Portraits as Landscapes” brings us to William Faulkner’s Mississippi, in search of the characters that featured in his novels. Set between reality and fiction, Alain Desvergnes’ photographs portray these figures who fascinated him when walking through this land, making fleeting appearances before disappearing for good.

Arnaud Claass
This exhibition brings together images from different periods of Arnaud Claass’ body of work. The works are displayed according to affinities rather than chronologically, including photographs of American big cities in the 1970s and in 1990, colour sets from the year 2000, items from his ‘landscape’ period, others from his phase exploring feelings and photographs from his two series on delicate objects and mineral formations.

Christian Milovanoff
In his brand new work titled « Attraction », Christian Milovanoff plays a strange game based on reproducing his own archives, deconstructing them, and on the idea of pure photographic recording, which he will also unpack and transform. Collecting images of the world, whether made by him or not, is no longer sufficient. What’s important is to ascribe meaning to this raw material.

The Alinari Archives and the Syntax of the World (Tribute to Italo Calvino)

2012 marks the 160th anniversary of Fratelli Alinari, a family photographic studio from 1852 until 1920, then a shareholder firm and now a foundation, located in Florence. This continuity makes Fratelli Alinari the oldest firm in the world working in the field of photography, after having been Italy’s most flourishing photographic studio. This exhibition will be organised around Tarot of Marseilles cards like those Italo Calvino used as a ‘narrative machine’ in The Castle of Crossed Destinies.
Curator: Christophe Berthoud – ENSP 1992

Model Bodies – The Crux of Fashion, Musée Galliera
In the early 20th century, society women and actresses were long fashion’s ongoing icons, endowing brands and magazines with the benefits of their fame. It was only later that the faces and names of professional models became generally known as such, revealed as muses by couturiers and photographers. This exhibition offers a history of fashion photography from the point of view of the photographer and the model.
Curator: Sylvie Lécallier – ENSP 1993

A Laboratory for First Time Experiments: The Société Française de Photographie Collections
Established in 1854, the SFP is one of the oldest photographers societies still active and one of the most important private collections of historical photographs in Europe. Bringing together objects, images, books, periodicals and handwritten documents, the collection, today listed a historic monument, was formed according to its member’s activities: technical, theoretical and visual experimentations.
Curator: Luce Lebart – ENSP 2012

Documents Towards an Alternative Kind of Information, Centre National des Arts Plastiques
This exhibition takes stock of a fundamental aspect of contemporary work, using the collections of the Centre National des Arts Plastiques. The artists involved were at the ENSP at different moments throughout its history. What they have in common is a way of seeing photography as a tool for critical comment on contemporary realities. Curator: Pascal Beausse, Director of photo collections at the CNAP.

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