Photo. From seventies performances to today’s experiments
Arles (Bouches-du-Rhône), special correspondent.
The first sign of the success of this 53 e edition came from the opening night. For the first time in a long time, on the banks of the Rhône, the very popular party, with a guinguette spirit, was really popular, marked by the empathy of a large social mix. Finally, we were getting out of the usual between-ourselves!
[voiraussi : 757017 : Lire notre entretien avec Christoph Wiesner]
Then, from the first days of these Meetings, we felt the strong impact on the audience, which nevertheless saw others, of the flagship exhibition of this edition, « A feminist avant-garde of the 1970s ». , from the Verbund collection, brought together by the Austrian Gabriele Schor, and which had to wait more than ten years to finally be shown in France.
A political weapon
In the General Mechanics Workshop, where it hangs majestically, it is striking to see the younger generations express their admiration for the performances of these artists who, at the start of their young lives, invented forms using, most of them of time, the photo or video mediums, so that their bodies, grappling with cages, grids or windows, metaphors of a patriarchy that covered them with prohibitions, became a political weapon. What do we see? A similarity of experimentation, while these artists, working alone, did not know each other: Ana Mendieta, Cuban artist from New York, crushing her face against a window to deform it and thus convince that the woman cannot be reduced to her beauty. Annegret Soltau, face tied, Renate Bertlmann caged, Valie Export opening her thighs to deliver a flood of vaginal blood…
Nature is living things that will eventually catch fire!
Our Frenchwoman, Orlan, born in 1947, very present in the exhibition and invited to Arles where, like a living treasure, she walks around in her blue Klein wig, tells how, at 17, she gave birth to Orlan, because the female body, « who keeps being pissed off by society », became, for her, “a place of public debate”. Roaring, explosive, it warns, today, against the society that we are preparing because, in particular, of influencers who, at the head of millions of followers, develop a maximum of stereotypes at the request of brands…
Finally, we are witnessing the deployment of exhibitions whose authors bring their research into line with the fears that mobilize us today. Thus Noémie Goudal gives herself the means, with her latest performative work Phoenix, symbolically presented in the nave of the Church of the Trinitarians, to draw the viewer’s attention to the fact that nature is living things that will eventually catch fire! To challenge the reputation of truth attached to photography, long considered proof, she uses optical illusions that deconstruct her palm grove images. To do this, it has been working for years with researchers in the geological history of the planet and its climates.
[voiraussi : 757989 : Lire notre critique du spectacle à Avignon]
Images well and truly doomed to disappear
Léa Habourdin’s whitish forest-images, very pale, as if on the verge of fading, inevitably arrest our gaze. Aware of the danger, the artist has traveled to photograph the untouched forests of our country, natural places that have remained preserved. And what sets her apart is her choice of a printing technique that is neither toxic nor polluting. By grinding plants, it extracts chlorophyll, which is photosensitive to light, without the use of chemicals. This process – the anthotype – has its downside. It cannot be fixed. Constantly reacting to light, the images of Léa Habourdin are therefore well and truly doomed to disappear…
On the edge of visibility
Immersed for a few years in the sacred land of the Huichol Indians, a desert valley in central Mexico where they come on pilgrimage to honor deities, the sun and fire, by performing shamanic ceremonies, the Marseillais Julien Lombardi, he is at the seeks new forms of narrative, as far removed as possible from an exotic and postcolonialist point of view. His series The land where the sun was born shows men vanishing behind their silhouette in the desert sand or a horseman struck by a dazzling flash preventing him from being seen. We are at the limit of visibility. In the name of what, indeed, landing in such a territory synthesizing contemporary, memorial and tourist issues (the place is threatened by the mining, agricultural and new age tourist industries), allow oneself to represent the Other there?