The Luxembourg Photography Award: a new departure for Luxembourg's presence in Arles
The launch of the Luxembourg Photography Award (LUPA) and the LUPA mentorship marks a new milestone for Lët’z Arles, which has been the driving force behind Luxembourg’s presence at the Rencontres d’Arles photography festival in France for almost a decade. The move is being supported by Kultur | lx as part of its remit to promote international career development.
Since its inception in 1970, the Rencontres d’Arles has been a fixture in the calendar for photography professionals the world over. It was in 2016 that the Lët’z Arles association, building on Luxembourg’s dynamic photography scene, first brought the country to this highly selective arena, where it has since become a major presence.
LUPA winner Daniel Wagener’s exhibition opus incertum (running until 21 September) featured in the Rencontres’ official programme. Wagener (born 1988), who works in both Brussels and Luxembourg, and the exhibition’s curator Danielle Igniti have championed this project in meetings with the press and public, as well as in presentations of the concurrently published book. The latter was painstakingly put together by the artist (who is also a printer), combining the prints presented in the exhibition with risographs. The exhibition, whose title refers to Roman dry-stone structures that were not built to last, challenges the architectural and social transformations of the exhibition venue – the Chapelle de la Charité – by showcasing images of contemporary construction sites, presented in racks of the kind found in DIY or furniture stores. In this deconsecrated building, one form of worship has been replaced by another: the former still evident in the richly decorated altar, the latter a secular cult of consumption and commerce.
Although this year marked a return to the Chapelle de la Charité after the successful Romain Urhausen exhibition in the Espace Van Gogh, the Lët’z Arles project has nevertheless broken new ground. The launch of the LUPA and the LUPA mentorship represents an undeniable step forward both for the Luxembourg photography scene and for its presence in Arles. While the LUPA rewards an artist, selected by an international jury, by staging an exhibition of their work as part of the Rencontres’ official programme, the mentorship consists of a three-month mentored residency in partnership with the École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie d’Arles (ENSP), a higher education institution dedicated to photography. The programme, which ran from January to April, enabled the mentored artists to develop their practice through masterclasses, workshops and group work sessions. As the winner of the 2023 LUPA mentorship, Brussels-based Rozafa Elshan (born 1994) benefited from this Kultur | lx-supported programme. She will be showing her work in the Display01 space at the Centre National de l’Audiovisuel (CNA) in Luxembourg from February 2024, at the same time as Daniel Wagener, who will be exhibiting in the CNA’s Pomhouse.
In partnership with Lët’z Arles, Kultur | lx organised a press trip to showcase the Arles projects as well as the exhibition Night Crossing by Martine Feipel and Jean Bechameil at the Chateauvert Contemporary Art Centre in Provence, a 90-minute journey from Arles.
In 2024, Kultur | lx will continue to support the Luxembourg scene in Arles by encouraging applications from photographers wishing to present their work at the Arles portfolio sessions, through dedicated mobility grants and by organising networking events. So expect to hear more about Luxembourg talent in Arles in the future!