Rietveld Exhibit – Utrecht

One of the greatest Dutch furniture designers is being honoured by an exhibit in Utrecht, Netherlands.  I’m a huge fan of his work and hope to check out this exhibit when I visit the country in November.  Design Boom has a great post on the exhibit and his life’s work.

Centraal Museum – Utrecht

Le Chiottisme – Outdoor Photography Exhibit

I went to a very unique photography exhibition the other day in Paris called “Le Chiottisme“.  It was an outdoor exhibit with the pictures having been blown up to roughly a metre wide.  It was put on by the Paris society for water treatment in celebration of their 40th anniversary.  What was the focus you ask? Toilets…

It was a very interesting look from different perspectives about toilets in the world today.  There were photos from Willy Ronis and Robert Doisneau, but also from other more recent photographers.  The photos ranged from comical to ones that really provoked you to think about how others in the world are affected by differences in sanitation.  Some of the photos from second and third world countries truly shows how lucky we are. The exhibit was along the Canal Saint Martin by the Basin d’Arsenal, unique and enjoyable, just how I like them…

Les Rencontres Arles, 2010

Being in France during the summer, it would seem a shame to not go and see Les Rencontres Arles, the world famous yearly photography exhibits that take over the small Southern French town of Arles.  Unfortunately, it looked as if it was simply too much money to go down for only a few days as the hotels were pricey.  While I would have loved to hop on the train and stay in a hostel for a few days, soaking in the photography, my wife and 11 month old daughter needed me in Paris, and splitting up the family at this point simply could not work.

In the end we decided we would all go down to Marseille while my wife had a brief break from school.  She then surprised me with a one day return trip to Arles.  While my two favourite girls roamed the streets and played in parks, I immersed myself in the wonderful world of Les Rencontres Arles.

For anyone who has never been to Arles, you do not know what you are missing! The town on it’s own is beautiful and extremely photogenic.  There are old roman ruins and a great coliseum, not to mention an old town square and a fantastic Saturday market.  The photography exhibits are spread throughout, held in old churches, abandoned railway stations and old hotels.  There are dozens of locations and many more exhibits to be seen.  I bought a one day pass (25 euros) and managed to see about 20 exhibits (there were close to 60 in total).  Admittedly, some of the exhibits that interested me less I went through rather quickly, with so much to see I couldn’t be bothered to waste time with those that I didn’t like.

While I thoroughly  enjoyed myself, I had a few criticisms. While the scope of the entire  exhibition is very large, with many exhibits, I found it overwhelming. There was simply too much and the quality didn’t always seem to accompany the work.  Some exhibits had far too many photographs, they became repetitive and made the better photographs less powerful than if they had stood on their own.  Finally, there were several exhibits that weren’t photographs at all, more sculpture than anything else.

It was definitely worth the money and I’m glad that I went, however I don’t know if I’d return in the future. I think I’d be happier going to several exhibits in Paris over the span of a few weeks and to only pick ones that I would enjoy.  Nothing in Arles approached what I had seen at the Willy Ronis exhibit in Paris, although you can’t expect to see photos of this calibre on every gallery wall…

Willy Ronis

I recently attended the Willy Ronis exhibition at La Monnaie de Paris.  It was an amazing retrospective of his entire life’s work ranging from nudes to street photography.  I found it very inspiring and will likely go to see it again before the show is over.  It ends August 22nd, 2010 so if you are in Paris, go have a look!

This great video was shown at the exhibit, I found it intriguing that at 90 years of age, when faced with not being able to hold a camera steady anymore, he decided to stop taking photographs for ever instead of having to use a tripod.