Tom Vater

Tom Vater

Irreverent, informed and downright eclectic crime fiction and reportage from Southeast Asia and beyond

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Les Rencontres – Arles – Photography

Visited the Les Rencontres monster photo exhibition in Arles. Some 60 exhibitions show a huge variety of photography from reportage to conceptual art and everything in between.

This years highlights, for me at least, included Taryn Simon from New York who shot a serious of stunning images called The Innocents, which document the stories of individuals in the US who served time in prison for violent crimes they did not commit. Also stunning were the garishly colorful tableaux by Argentinian photographer Marcos Lopez who says of his work, “My aesthetic is Baroque Rococo. A cardboard Argentina. The fatherland as absence….

This years offerings were very RocknRoll centric.  One entire exhibition was devoted to Mick Jagger. I missed it. But another large hall in the Parc des Ateliers was dedicated to Punk Rock. I am A Cliche – Echoes of the Punk Rock Aesthetic featured photo displays of the Andy Warhol with The Velvet Underground at the Factory, The Rolling Stones in the 60s, with Brian Jones, excellent portraits of The Sex Pistols, images and film of Patti Smith, an entire room dedicated to the 1960s politically astute Detroit music scene – psychedelic montages featuring The Stooges and The MC5, and a small hut lined with the most remarkable punk rock vinyl releases of the 60s and 70s. The volume inside was too low of course, this is not Punk Rock after all, but merely it´s echo.

This exhibition of Les Rencontres was introduced by a great quote by recently deceased erstwhile Pistols manager Malcolm Mclaren.

“Rocknroll doesn´t necessarily mean a band, a singer or a lyric, really. It´s that question of trying to be immoral.”

And so it seems immorality has become the charm of the bourgeoisie. Well done, Malcolm.

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