Opening week record at the Rencontres d’Arles


Director Sam Stourdzé designed the 2017 festival program, which again emphasizes other places, openness, and interaction. Major sections attest to the diversity of photographic approaches and practices: 28 artists offer their views of Colombia, while 66 Iranian photographers tell their country’s story in pictures from 1979-2017. Spain was in the spotlight as well with the Blank Paper collective.

The 48th Rencontres d’Arles also pursues the festival’s interest in collectors. From Letitia and Stanislas Poniatowski’s excellent Latin-American collection to the strange vernacular group devoted to dwarfs, giants and strong men put together by Claude Ribouillault, collectors are celebrated for their free spirit, which sheds light on neglected parts of the history of photography.

A major photography project in the Hauts-de-France region with the Rencontres d’Arles
Culture Minister Françoise Nyssen, Rencontres d’Arles President Hubert Védrine, Arles Mayor Hervé Schiavetti and local players were at the festival on Saturday, July 8, when Xavier Bertrand, president of the Hauts-de-France region, announced that he was asking Rencontres d’Arles Director Sam Stourdzé to carry out a preparatory mission in view of giving the Hauts-de-France region a photography institution in connection with the Rencontres d’Arles. The goal is for the institution to become a European benchmark in exhibitions, research and conservation while making the most of photography’s appeal to the general public with popular shows.

• 17,500 visitors (up by 15% compared to the 15,200 visitors in 2016)

• Popularity with Arles residents: over 2,500 attended

• Nearly 40 shows at 25 venues throughout the city

• 250 artists and over 30 curators on the program

• 7 evening events at various venues, including 3 that were free

• 125 public events: guided tours with artists and curators, book signings, live France Inter and France Culture broadcasts

• 80 French and international publishers at Cosmos Arles Books

After Ground Control and Mistral in 2016, two new exhibition venues opened up on boulevard Émile Combes:

• Croisière, which hosts exhibitions, panel discussions, a pop-up restaurant (Chiringuito), a pop-up Actes Sud bookstore, a Harmonia Mundi vinyl store, a Devialet listening room and evening events.

• The Maison des peintres, which hosts exhibitions of work by Mathieu Pernot, Christophe Rihet and Roger Ballen.

Les Nuits de la photographie

The festival offered 3 free evening events this year:

• On opening night, July 3, a big Colombian party on boulevard Émile Combes drew over 6,000 people.

• On Wednesday, July 5, a Literature & Photography evening featured readings and performances by Fanny Taillandier, Maylis de Kerangal, Delphine Minoui, Cécile Mainardi, Bernard Chambaz, Marie Darrieussecq.

• On Friday, July 7, over 5,000 people participated in the Night of the Year at Papeteries Étienne.

And there were 3 exceptional evenings at the Ancient Theater: Joel Meyerowitz, Annie Leibovitz, Iran Maintenant

The VR Arles Festival, co-founded by Fisheye, BNP Paribas and the Rencontres d’Arles, takes place for the second year at couvent Saint-Césaire until August 31. It features 20 of the best fictional, documentary and artistic virtual reality films.

The 3rd Cosmos-Arles Books Cosmos-Arles Books, a satellite devoted to contemporary photo publishing, brought together 80 specialized publishers during opening week.

The Grand Arles Express continues taking the Rencontres d’Arles to the region: it now calls at Marseille, Avignon, Nîmes and Toulon.


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