Back to the basics
Every summer since 1970, the Rencontres d'Arles has been a major influence in disseminating the best of world photography. For the 49th edition this year, from 2 July to 23 September, thousands of visitors are expected – as a reference, last year the festival welcomed 125,000 people. The Rencontres d'Arles’ policy of programming provides for an exhibition consisting almost exclusively of new work. What's more, the exhibitions are often co-produced with both French and foreign museums and institutions, and are presented at various heritage sites.
For this year’s exhibition, Sam Stourdzé, director of Rencontres d'Arles, draws parallels to the controversial times that preceded the first edition in 1970. "Today, in the face of the digital revolution and its promises of a post-human future, we see movements for going back to the basics, like those of 1968," he writes in his opening statement entitled "Back to the Future". The idea of going back to the basics is reflected, for example, in the exhibition series "America Great Again!" The exhibition, which bears the subtitle "Because America's image owes something to foreign eyes!", features among others almost unknown works from Robert Frank, who is said to have invented "the photography road trip". Other programme points from Rencontres d'Arles are "Augmented Humanity", "The World As It Is" and "Platforms of the Invisible".
Events, symposiums, discussions and awards round out the programme. Exhibitions from Rencontres d'Arles will also be shown in Xiamen, China, in the Franco-Sino collaboration Jimei x Arles from 23 November 2018 to 2 January 2019.