Between July 1 and September 22 of 2019, the Rencontres de la Photographie d'Arles celebrated its 50th anniversary, with 51 exhibits including a celebration of memory and an exploration of the future of the "8th Art." Due to the global pandemic, the festival was cancelled for the 2020 edition.
It is with an " heavy heart, but with more resolve than ever" that the Rencontres de la photographie d'Arles team announced on April 29 for the first time in 50 years, the festival will not take place this summer, following "the impossibility of producing the exhibitions, equipping the premises (...) and taking into account the new recommendations of the government". Having sought by all means to maintain the festival, the organizers had to finally cancel the 2020 edition.
While waiting for new surprises for 2021, check out some info on the 2019 edition, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the event.
The 2019 edition will go down in history
How can one celebrate the past 50 years all while projecting the next 50? Staying true to its tradition as a pioneering festival, the Rencontres de la Photographie d'Arles, one of the most renowned photography events in the world, is not settling for a simple return to the past. For its anniversary edition, the eclectic event will pay tribute to its three founders, Lucien Clergue, Michel Tournier and Jean-Maurice Rouquette, and will focus more than ever on the ever-lasting discovery and repurposing of the different ways to exhibit photography.
Venues open especially for the occasion
For this anniversary edition, 51 exhibits will be held in more than 30 historical venues, some of them especially opened for the occasion. Four new themes will be featured, including "Mon corps est une arme (My body is a weapon)," exploring the adventure of photography as a counter-culture; "À la lisière (On the edge)" and "Habiter (Inhabiting)," which question the notion of border and domestic space; and "Construire Image (Constructing an Image)," dedicated to the new generation of photographers who are passionate about installations.
Among the flagship exhibits, "Germaine Krull & Jacques Rémy, un voyage Marseille-Rio, 1941 (Germaine Krull & Jacques Rémy, a voyage between Marseille and Rio, 1941)" compiles mostly unknown works of the photographer, who was part of the WWWII resistance and a war correspondent. These works were discovered in the country house of scriptwriter Jacques Rémy, who was also one of the 200 passengers aboard the Capitaine-Paul-Lemerle ship fleeing Nazi Europe. Another must-see exhibit is an exceptional display of issues of Variétés, a Belgian avant-garde magazine published between the two wars, and 200 vintage issues found accidentally.
The festival revisits its history
This exhilarating jubilee will explore new territories, such as untreated photography, with the collection Decharme & cia, or the saga of industrial inventions as an inventory of its own history. For its 50th anniversary, the Festival will recreate the first-ever opening exhibit, dedicated to Edward Weston, by creating a dialogue between his collections and the first pieces by Lucien Clergue, one of the founders, submerging once again into the entire collection of the Rencontres with more than 1000 exhibits featured in ''Toute une Historie'' (An Entire History).
Outside the Festival's limits, and during the course of more than 15 events, the works of other key figures of the history of photography will be showcased, such as Willy Ronis in Cavaillon, or Harry Gruyaert and Raymond Depardon in Toulon.