Passing by Arles? Let the Fisheye team be your guide and go see those five amazing exhibitions, displayed until September 23rd as part of Les Rencontres d’Arles.

1. Jonas Bendiksen, The Last Testament

“The Last Testament was born from a long fascination for religion and a need to understand what faith, belief and what we believe in is”, Jonas Bendiksen, the author of this monumental project explains. This Norwegian photographer has shared the daily lives of seven men pretending to be the Messiah. A journey around the world – Great Britain, Brazil, Russia, South Africa, Zambia, Japan, Philippines – to discover Jesus of Kitwe, Jesus of Matayoshi, INRI or even Appolo (founder and director of The Realm of Jesus Christ enterprise). Amusing testimonies are displayed near the delicious portraits, and through them, we discover a powerful messiah, or an outsider preaching suicide against his adversaries.

2. Matthieu Gafsou, H+ 

Matthieu Gafsou has focused his work on the notion of augmented reality and transumanism – a movement praising the use of science and technics to improve the psychical and mental abilities of human beings.

From a pancreas prototype, to cryogenics to implants parties, Matthieu Gafsou photographed objects as actors of the movement. At the Painters house, he exhibits a series of artificial images, coming from his investigations. A body of clues organised into six chapters, questioning the future of our humanity. What relationship will progress and the man of the 21st century develop? Will technic replace everything? A beautiful albeit disturbing projet.

© Matthieu Gafsou. Avec l’aimable autorisation de l’artiste, de Galerie C et de MAPS.

3. A pillar of smoke – a look at Turkey’s contemporary scene

At the painters’ house, fifteen Turkish artists present their vision of the country, marked by censorship and self-censorship. Depicting hard lives, wars and protests, their works form a poignant view of today’s Turkey. How can artists act? Is photography a token of freedom? Through their eyes, we rediscover a country where it may still be possible to tell the truth.

This is also the occasion to have a look at Çagdas Erdogan’s series Control, created in 2016. By photographing Turkish nights, he denounced a conservative political climate. A violent and poetic snapshot of Turkey.

Contrôle, 2015-2016 © Çağdaş Erdoğan

4. The train, RFK’s last journey

During Les Rencontres, the atelier des forges has turned into a train station. Three artists – Paul Fusco, Rein Jelle Terpstra and Philippe Parreno – focused on Robert F. Kennedy’s last journey, the path of a funeral train, driving from New York to Washington. The journey starts with Paul Fusco, the photographer hired for the event. From inside the train, he documented mourning people, standing near the railroads. Images showing the diversity of a country and its inhabitants. With Rein Jelle Terpstra, the audience turns to the spectator’s viewpoint, to the persons paying a last tribute to the democrat candidate. The Dutch artist gathered pictures taken by non-professional photographers, forming an impressive archive. Finally, Philippe Parreno chose to “showcase the deceased’s viewpoint”. Through his reconstitution on a 70mm film, the public board the train and become silent witnesses. A contemplative journey, or different perspectives of the political and sociohistorical event? The only thing we do know is that the dialogue was cleverly written.

Sans titre, RFK Funeral Train, 1968 © Paul Fusco/Magnum Photos, Avec l’aimable autorisation de la Danziger Gallery.

5. Depardon USA, 1968-1999

One stop you must make is the Raymond Depardon exhibition at the Espace Van Gogh. The photographer displayed there his American reports, made between 1968 and 1999. In 75 pictures divided into four parts, he revealed his vision of the United States, a country which greatly impacted his life. 1963 marked his first journey on the other side of the Atlantic. The French film director and photographer documented the democrat national convention, a demonstration against the Vietnam war, and Nixon’s electoral campaign. In 1981, he captured New York, and its angry inhabitants. The perfect place to learn how to observe and to master his photographic approach. A year later, in 1982, Raymond Depardon documented his journey to the West of the United States, from New Mexico to California. In 1999, he captured his wanderings in big vertical formats: a series of powerful landscapes, a play around the notion of frame, and an obvious sense of freedom! A unmissable exhibition for those who love the United States and one of the biggest stars of this festival’s edition.

© Raymond Depardon/Magnum Photos.

Cover picture © Jonas Bendiksen / MagnumPhotos