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Sara Ouhaddou, Arles

Arles Must-See Exhibitions at Fondation Thalie, La Villa Benkemoun, and More

This summer, Whitewaller presents its current highlights in Arles, a city filled with rich history, blossoming talent, and creative inspirations.

From July 1–7, Arles hosts its annual Rencontre d’Arles festival to celebrate international photographers–a moment for never-before-seen photography talent to debut to the public. Here are some of Whitewall’s additional recommendations for the city this summer, from Dior’s Photography And Visual Arts Award For Young Talents to LUMA Arles’ many exhibitions, and what’s on view at Fondation Thalie.

“The Art of Color”

Dior Parfums’s 2024 Award at LUMA Arles

Dior Parfums Installation view courtesy of Dior Parfums.

In collaboration with LUMA Arles and the École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie in Arles, Dior Parfums presents its seventh Photography and Visual Arts Award for Young Talents. The award aims to highlight emerging photographers and filmmakers, providing them with a platform to showcase their work on the international stage. Like every year, the jury features renowned figures in art and photography, including Brigitte Lacombe, Julie Jones, Laurent Montaron, Maja Hoffmann, Peter Philips, and Simon Baker

This year’s competition theme is “Face to Face,” with finalists fusing this cue into a range of approaches for the pieces, from introspective personal works to exploring other cultures. The committee will announce its winner on July 5, but starting July 1 visitors are invited to attend the exhibition of all 13 finalists at LUMA Arles until September 29, 2024. The exhibition is a prime example of the power of young artists and a testament to the global talent that is congregating in Arles this summer.

DRIFT, Diana Thater, Judy Chicago and More

LUMA Arles Presents an Array of Enticing Exhibitions

DRIFT, “Living Landscape,” The Tower, Arles. DRIFT, “Living Landscape,” The Tower, Main Gallery, Parc des Ateliers, LUMA Arles, France. Coded Nature, 2022. Photo by Finn Bech, courtesy of LUMA Arles.

In addition to its collaboration with Dior’s Photography and Visual Arts Award for Young Talents exhibition, LUMA Arles hosts a range of international artists whose latest installations further uplift the organization as a pioneering and diverse arts center. Exhibitions include shows from DRIFT, Diana Thater, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Judy Chicago, Gustav Metzger, William Kentridge, Theaster Gates, Lee Friedlander, and Erika Verzutti

To celebrate the coinciding tenth anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone of the LUMA Tower and the creation of the Vincent van Gogh Arles Foundation, LUMA Arles presents “Van Gogh and the Stars.” The exhibition, designed by Bice Curiger and Jean de Loisy, brings Van Gogh’s celebrated Starry Night to Arles for the first time. In collaboration with the exhibition, Dutch duo DRIFT presents “Living Landscape,” a collection of interactive artworks that blend Van Gogh’s foundational artistic exploration with contemporary technology. 

Sara Ouhaddou 

Fondation Thalie

Sara Ouhaddou, Arles. Ouarzazate, 2018 © Sara Ouhaddou.

From June 30–September 28, Arles’ Fondation Thalie presents “Take a Seat, Have Some Tea” with photography and sculpture works by Sara Ouhaddou. Stemming from her experience of growing up between French and Moroccan cultures, Ouhaddou captured the lives of artisans from Morocco, Tunisia, and Japan through a collaboration of almost ten years. 

In addition to the show’s photographs, the exhibition additionally features stained glass works that delve into the history of glass around the Mediterranean. “I wanted to hear the songs of childhood again,” explained Ouhaddou, “of immigration, to translate these into musical scores, like the great masters of zellige (traditional Andalusian mosaic) who interpreted imaginary gardens through their savoir-faire.” This exploration invites visitors into the homes of her subjects, a close-quarters view into their communities. 

“I wanted to hear the songs of childhood again,”

—Sara Ouhaddou

“1974 – Passé, Présent, Futur”

La Villa Benkemoun

Joseph-André Motte, “Roissy Sofa & Table,” 1972, Arles. Joseph-André Motte, “Roissy Sofa & Table,” 1972.

From August 30–September 29th, la Villa Benkemoun’s “1974 – Passé, Présent, Futur” exhibition will feature 28 artists that speak to the panorama of artistic style and innovation of the house. As a 20th-century heritage site, the curved-walled Villa Benkemoun was the product of a collaboration between the Benkemoun family–newly immigrated to Arles from Algeria–and renowned Swiss architect Emile Sala. 

The show, curated by Raphael Giannesini, reflects on what the villa’s founders dreamed of for the association and what it has become today, a melange of both its utopian vision and history. Visitors are invited to walk through the space’s ionic architecture to revisit the historic complexities of the Trente Glorieuses of 1945–1975. Exhibited artists and designers will include Alain Jacquet, Nicole Gravier, Atelier Baptiste & Jaïna, and Joseph André Motte. The show is a vision of the villa’s deep history, an archetype of 1970s style mixed with a continuously innovative and experimental vision.

When discussing her parents’ and la Villa Benkemoun’s legacies, Brigitte Benkemoun explained, “In celebrating the 50th anniversary of the villa today, I don’t want to dwell on the past, but to inscribe their boldness and their two names on the pediment of this house.”

La Villa Benkemoun, photo by Diane Hymans. La Villa Benkemoun, photo by Diane Hymans.

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On view at Gagosian is “Iconic Avedon: A Centennial Celebration of Richard Avedon” (January 22-March 4) connecting the artist to Paris.
This month, on view January 10-February 28, Stanley Whitney debuts his painting Dear Paris (2023) at Gagosian.

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