Nostalgic or historic? The first program of the Rencontres d’Arles entirely concocted by the director Christoph Wiesnerafter years disrupted by the Covid-19 epidemic, has a scent seventies. If the collective exhibition on the “feminist avant-garde” of the 1970s offers an enlightening dive into the artistic and political radicalism of this period, the small black and white images of the Franco-American Babette Mangolte, delicate but lost in the he church of Sainte-Anne, on the shows and performances of the choreographers of the 1970s, have more difficulty in convincing.
In general, the program for this year 2022, anxious to make a large place for women and artists from all over the world, turns out to be sharp and without any major outstanding or unifying figure. The photos of Luxembourger Romain Urhausen, a great discovery around subjective photography, are oddly mixed with other artists of his time on the wall, as if for a quiz. The exhibition on Lee Miller, a unique figure in the history of photography, who was a model, fashion photographer and war reporter, evacuates his surrealist period alongside Man Ray to concentrate on his work as a studio photographer, less fascinating, and on his war photos (which are worth the detour).
The most successful exhibitions are those where the artists have succeeded in fully occupying the allocated space, which, in the historic places of Arles, is no small feat. Mission accomplished for Noemie Goudal, whose photo and video installation at the Saint-Blaise church, full of questions about the nature of what we see, and nature itself, takes the visitor into a precise spectacle, evocative of distant fantasized countries. On the Croisière site, in the city center, the Frenchman Julien Lombardi offers a very thoughtful installation around the Wirikuta site in Mexico, where mining industries, Indians and farmers live side by side. Combining both his own images, maps and photos found elsewhere, he crosses several eyes, without imposing his own, and without losing the viewer thanks to small enlightening texts. The most original approach to the subject of Indian struggles, particularly present this year, with no less than three exhibitions.
Arles Meetingsuntil September 25.