Arles was only an hour away and we decided to visit Recontres de la Photographie 2017, a festival considered to be to photography what Cannes is to cinema. What a day!!! The festival was scattered at venues located all over the city and we walked -all over the city, from churches and chapels to cellars and shops, museums and monuments. It was HUGE!
We purchased a day pass and began at 10 and walked until 19:30. We were saturated with images. I remember Michael Wolfs amazing “Life in Cities” and images of celebrities by Annie Leibovitz but mostly I remember how utterly mentally exhausted I was at the end of the day at the Park des Ateliers exploring one of the most extensive exhibitions in the Atelier de La Mecanique. It was overwhelming. It was mesmerizing, and it was amazing. We agreed we had had enough and then had to make our way back to the car.
Now that was interesting. We had a physical map and had an idea where we had parked but Arles is old and many of the streets are not marked on maps and we were both tired and tetchy. And then I turned my phone on. OMG! Google really does know everything! Very calmly I explained to John that the phone knew where we were, where the car was parked in an obscure little side-street and knew how to take us there. “Gallop up Google!!”
Our hire car was proving to be a godsend. When we first picked it up in Nice the attendant asked if I wanted GPS. (Well that’s what I thought she asked.) Naturally, I didn’t want to pay more for the car and shook my head and indicated we had Maps on the phone. So off we went. The rental was a new car, a Peugeot 2008, I think. Anyhow it had all the bells and whistles including a touch screen with reversing camera. We worked out how to put the maps from the phone on to the screen and play our music through the car speakers. We thought we were very clever. A few days later we realised that the big screen was actually a GPS too. Oh! OK! So we used the GPS. It was in French and so I was getting pretty good at following directions but of course, as my French is basic in the extreme, droite and gauche fine got that, but how many metres, what lane, turn when? I was thrilled when I finally found the Settings and changed the language. It did take a week but hey I appreciated my French definitely improved in the meantime and on reflection that quizzical look on the hire car attendant’s face now makes much more sense to me. She was obviously letting me know what I had rather than asking if I wanted GPS.
So with our car, we were able to explore to our hearts’ content and because we were familiar with the area there were destinations we wanted to revisit and one of them was Les Baux-de-Provence. Here we would visit, along with the glorious old village, Carriers de Lumieres an old quarry which has been transformed into an extraordinary art gallery. Huge walls of white limestone in massive interconnecting chambers provide the art space for this creative venture.’
Here we are totally immersed in a world of light and sound which heightens every thought and feeling and enables the participant to soar. The air is cool, the walls are smooth. Images paint themselves over all surfaces, sneak around corners and fly across the floor, radiating their light and transporting you into the world of the artist. This exhibition, 2017, combines the talents of Bosch, Brueghel and Arcimboldo to explore fascinating worlds oscillating between joy and despair, righteousness and depravity, evil and innocence. And all this accompanied by Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana”, Vivaldi’s ‘’Four Seasons’’, works by Mussorgsky and Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”, stir hearts and tempt tears.
The duration of the show is thirty minutes, but it seeps into your heart and soul and will stay for as long as you wish…. and then there is always YouTube. This is the official promo.