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23 July 2015

An unusual attention, Rencontres d’Arles 2015

ÉCOLE NATIONALE SUPÉRIEURE DE LA PHOTOGRAPHIE, ARLES

 

This year’s jury (Agnès Sire, director, Fondation Henri Cartier‐Bresson; Marco Zappone, director, éditions Photosynthèses; and Sam Stourdzé, director, Rencontres d’Arles) has brought an unusual attention to bear on four students who, each with a different style and approach, nonetheless are united in their desire to disrupt and renew the language of photography. Deconstructing certain codes of showing, pushing viewers out of preconceived ideas or inviting them to investigate for themselves, these four young photographers open new photographic territories wherein our gaze becomes the chief actor.

An abandoned car in the streets of Mexico, a man leaning on a telephone box, concrete steps erupting in the midst of a lush forest: scattered clues left by Cloé Vignaud guide us in the footsteps of Roberto Bolaño taking on the guise of one of his savage detectives. Like a sort of scavenger hunt, her ingenious work offers visitors a new reading of real and fictitious Mexican territories, where illusion is never where it is expected and one finds oneself playing at reinventing a written story.

In the same process of destruction of real territories and new paths of circulation, Louis Matton has been working for the last three years on the notre‐dame‐des‐ Landes area, creating his Objets autonomes series, in which objects fabricated in situ fill the space around the squatters and make up their territory. Playing on the double meaning of the word autonomous, they are simultaneously symbolic of struggle, objects used by the occupiers, and colours, shapes, and images to be viewed as such.

Swen Renault takes part in this same movement of appropriation and transformation by addressing the question of the status of the work of art. by mixing images gleaned from the Internet with his own visual creations, swen renault plays with this flux by subtly and ironically distorting our modern icons or raising to the status of artwork certain everyday objects so ordinary as to be invisible—but which soon will no longer exist.

Pablo Mendez completes this exhibition with a videographer’s approach to the question of transmission and language. An Argentine in france, familiar with the frustrations of living in a country whose spoken language is not his own, he offers two strong and poetic video works in which the body, frustrated at not being able to communicate, seeks to express itself. In The Raft, he carries us on the rhythms of water into his childhood memories.

 

Exhibition produced by the École Nationale Supérieure de la photographie d’Arles.

Exhibition venue: Couvent Saint-Césaire.