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14 August 2010

France 14, Rencontres d’Arles 2010

Arles 2006. Raymond Depardon, the artistic director of that year’s Rencontres, presented the work of 16 young photographers. ‘These are the new generation of reporters and photographers—risk-takers, with a quickfire style, spending time on the ground. They’re concrete-minded, attentive and patient, not to say brave. Behind the scoop, you can sense the power and energy of a good photographer,’ he said. Fourteen of them have decided to set up this informal group in order to work on the concept of territory in all its senses and nuances.

The work they show together here responds to a matter of historical urgency: a transversal study of our society, informed by an ethical stance that echoes Depardon’s. They explore France’s suburban sink estates and major cities, striving to portray the peri-urban world and focusing on its clash with what remains of the traditional terroir. Some go on quasi-initiatory journeys or personal wanderings, in search of themselves and their roots; others are surprised by what they thought they knew. All of them sketch a world in motion, a fast-evolving society that is unsure of its outline and must face the sometimes unexpected consequences of its past decisions. They highlight the opportunities and difficulties caused by reaching out to others, and lay bare a society exposed to the erosion of singularities. This society, anxious about the gradual loss of its historical bearings, displays its wounds, failures, hopes, and many facets through the lenses of the France14 photographers and their diverse personalities.

Anne Biroleau, curator-general, department of prints and photography, BnF/associate curator.

HSBC France is naturally supporting this project, in parallel to its backing for the exhibition ‘La France de Raymond Depardon’, which opens in September 2010 at the National Library of France (BnF) (François Mitterrand site).

The photographers: Jean Christophe Béchet / Au nord ; Philippe Chancel / L’hôtel de la plage (Cap Ferret) ; Julien Chapsal / Où c’est chez moi ? ; Cyrus Cornut / Voyage en périphérie ; Gilles Coulon / Hiver(s) ; Olivier Culmann / Hors sol ; Raphaël Dallaporta / Qu’est-ce que vous voyez de votre fenêtre? ; Franck Gérard / Sur la terre ; Laurent Guéneau / Dominante verte ; Olivier Jobard / Chanteloup. Récits de banlieue ; Stéphane Lagoutte / Par ailleurs ; Gilles Leimdorfer / Paris, face à face ; Malik Nejmi / Être laotien en France. Une communauté d’émotions ; Marion Poussier / Récréation ;

Coordinator: Catherine Baduel, ‘Les Yeux de la terre’ non-profit association.

Exhibition venue: abbaye de Montmajour, Rencontres d’Arles 2010.