Rencontres d’Arles – In the beginning, nature was …

Logr and several photographers question man’s relationship to his environment, from symbiosis to its responsibility in the destruction of the planet. Several exhibitions at Rencontres Photographiques d’Arles address this topic this summer. Detailed review.

1. Portraits of Trees by Léa Habourdin

Eager to celebrate the miraculous charm of pristine forests, Léa Habourdin, 37, spent two years exploring France’s forests. His portraits of trees take the form of sensitive antotypes: an ancient technique that uses chlorophyll extracted from flowers and plants to fix images. His particularly delicate print has the special feature of turning under the influence of daylight. This summer, they will go through the entire chromatic range, from the bright yellow of birch leaves to the pink of poppy leaves, before disappearing. The disappearance of these images reveals the extreme fragility of forest environments.

“Iforest stomachs: expanding worlds ”. Cruise. From July 4th to September 25th.

2. In the enchanted valley Pierfrancesco Celada

Hong Kong is not known for being the greenest city in the area. This megalopolis, among the most populous on the planet, is nevertheless surrounded by water and vegetation. It appears from the place with the enchanting name “Happy Valley”, which a tram serves. This is the place we discover Pierfrancesco Celada (winner of Photo Folio Review 2021). The photographer, born in 1979 in Italy, has lived in Hong Kong for eight years, and regularly finds resources there. He, in turn, offers us to get out of the suffocating city tested by the “umbrella revolution” in 2014, the unrest of 2019, and for two years of the Covid-19 crisis.

“When I’m sorry, I take a train to the Valley of Happiness.” Cruise. From July 4th to September 25th.

Pilgrimage to the desert with Julien Lombardi

In the heart of Mexico, Wirikuta is a land of legend. It is in this desert that the Huichol Indians really make a pilgrimage to celebrate the birth of the sun and fire. This wild territory has aroused all desires since the Spanish conquest. Julien Lombardi restores the magic of the place with the help of photos, videos and installations. An immersion from which one comes rich in ethnological, archaeological and biological knowledge.

“The earth where the sun was born”. Cruise. From July 4th to September 25th.

4. Fighting Forests Seen by Ritual Unusual

Latin America is the center of several Arles exhibitions. The French-Chilean collective Ritual Inhabitual thus transports us to the moist forests of Araucania, where the intense monoculture of pine trees and eucalyptus intended for the production of pulp disrupts the ecosystem. Another struggle for the Mapuche people, who for more than two centuries have been fighting against the exploitation and trade of natural resources in their territory.

“Geometric forests. Fights in Mapuche territory”. Saint-Martin du Méjan chapel. From 4 July to 25 September.

5. The Jungle of Time by Noémie Goudal

Noémie Goudal signs an original work on the idea of ​​”deep time”, by which she denotes the geological history of our planet. Using sophisticated images that are sometimes animated, sometimes still, the artist born in 1984 takes us on a journey through enchanting landscapes, essentially lush jungle, all threatened by man and ongoing climate change.

“Phoenix”. Trinitarian Church. From July 4th to August 28th.

6. In Seif Kousmate’s psychedelic oasis

Yesterday, an engineer, today a photographer, Seif Kousmate, 34, roams around his native Morocco in search of the pockets of life that Arabic denotes under the poetic name wow (“oasis”, in French). Desertification for 40 years in the southern part of the country has led to the transformation of important agricultural areas. The artist depicts the degradation of water points in the Tighmert region and the plight of its inhabitants through images whose colors have been altered by an acid treatment.

“Wow”. Brethren’s Preaching Church. From July 4th to August 28th.

7. Bruno Serralongue with the spirit level

Bruno Serralongue was born in 1968 in Châtellerault and was with the Sioux Indians in the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota (USA) when they started protesting against the pipeline project that was to cross their territory. Fearing that oil spills could contaminate the region’s rivers and lakes, nearly 10,000 men and women protested tirelessly in 2016 to block the site. It is the portrait of these Water protectors (“Water guards”), which this exhibition builds.

“Guardians of the Water”. The summer garden. From July 4th to September 25th.

8. Sandra Rochas and Perrine Géliot’s pre-Columbian cataracts

Originally from the Azores, where she was born in 1974, Sandra Rocha has devoted her work to the splendor of island landscapes for many years. As part of a mentoring program organized by the Pernod Ricard Foundation, the visual artist took sculptor Perrine Géliot to Mexico. Their works explore the magic of waterfalls in Chiapas, where the two women worked together on Mayan myths.

“Sandra Rocha and Perrine Géliot”. Saint-Luce Commandery. From July 4th to September 25th.

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