Exhibitions, Festivals

Les Rencontres d’Arles 2015: Review

Images © Simon Bainbridge

BJP editor Simon Bainbridge takes his pick of the more than 50 photography exhibitions are on show at Les Rencontres d'Arles, the world famous photography festival in the small city in Provence, France.

Markus Brunetti’s monumental series, Facades, is the closest thing you’ll get to a modern-day Grand Tour, capturing European cathedrals and churches in the kind of extraordinary detail that eludes even first-hand experience.

Alex Majoli and Paolo Pellegrin take their work to another level with Congo, and the exhibition is the best of Les Ateliers – every much as layered and ambitious as the book.

Cosmos-Arles Books was a welcome addition to the festival proper, but it was disappointing that this year’s book awards featured the short list only.

Markus Brunetti’s Facades

In town, Another Language, featuring largely previously unseen (in the flesh – often literally) work by eight Japanese photographers, from Eiko Hosoe to one of the country’s newest stars, Daisuke Yokota, was the biggest hit of the festival. Though Masahisa Fukase’s obsessively captured pictures of his wife are slight compared to his best known work, The Ravens, made after their split – evidence that the darker the mood, the better it feeds the creative soul.

Mathieu Chedid’s musical accompaniment brings out another side to Martin Parr’s work, but the entire hang sets a different tone to most if the Englishman’s previous exhibitions – edgier, often, mixing up his back catalogue, and less reliant on gigantic grids.

David Campany’s scholarly presentation of Walker Evans back catalogue – and his magazine work in particular – is both educative and pleasure to the eyes.

As is the Stephen Shore retrospective at Espace Van Gogh – even if his early ‘conceptual’ works are overrated.

My pick of this year’s Discoveries was Lisa Barnard, whose work on the interface between the military and the gaming industry has taken on extra layers of complexity and nuance since I last saw it as a graduation show.

rencontres-arles.com