Edition 2023

Eric Tabuchi et Nelly Monnier

Grey Sun

The Atlas des Régions Naturelles was begun in 2017. Eric Tabuchi and Nelly Monnier developed this adventure/photographic mission in complete autonomy, creating their own geography of permeable and nuanced borders, to document every type of construction found in France, without prejudging their qualities. Farms, housing projects, small businesses, agro-industrial complexes, service stations: nearly 20,000 images are accessible online through an interface featuring geographical and typological search criteria.

Recurring gray skies, together with an absence of human figures, produce an impression of sadness and imminent disaster. This led the artists to wonder if the fear of global warming combined with our insatiable desire for sunlight is not more contradictory than Grey Sun [Soleil Gris], the oxymoronic title of their exhibition. So, under the blinding Arlesian light, the two artists invite us to tour an atlas of their latest gray skies.

Scaling the countryside to the exhibition space, this tour begins in Camargue, then meanders through a great variety of regions. It reveals the slow evolution of landscapes but also the way an architecture adapts to its environment, becomes unique, asserts itself, inscribes itself in a local or global phenomenon, a personal or collective desire. From Beauce to Bresse, Albret to Grand Ried, this map–featuring the proper names of places that have long been generically known as countryside or province–becomes the layout of the exhibition.

In the center is Ground Control, a modulable installation of thematic groupings pertaining to the structure of the Atlas. Each grouping recounts a recent story of human activities through the functions of their buildings. Formal and typological correspondences–represented by pictograms associated with certain photographs–suggest a transversal reading of Grey Sun, yet another approach to both objectivity and exhaustiveness in our eternal attempt to sum up the world.

In February 2023, Cité Anthropocène in Lyon, with the support of SNCF Immobilier and the Rencontres d'Arles, conducted a transdisciplinary study on the Arles region, inviting all those who contribute to the festival to reflect on the impacts of climate change during a summer cultural event. A group of scientists, researchers, architects and artists traveled through the Rhône river delta to better understand these complex issues, questioning practices and taking stock of the changes at play. The objective: to define new guidelines for the summer use of Ground Control, a railway site and exhibition space for the Rencontres d'Arles, which will host the exhibitions Grey Sun [Soleil Gris] by Eric Tabuchi and Nelly Monnier; and Special Attention [Une attention particulière] with Jingyu Cao, Raphaël Lods and Iris Millot.

With the collaboration of Arc en Rêve, Centre d’Architecture, Bordeaux. 


  • Institutional partners

    • République Française
    • Région Provence Alpes Côté d'Azur
    • Département des Bouches du Rhône
    • Arles
    • Le Centre des monuments nationaux est heureux de soutenir les Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles en accueillant des expositions dans l’abbaye de Montmajour
  • Main partners

    • Fondation LUMA
    • BMW
    • SNCF
    • Kering
  • Media partners

    • Arte
    • Lci
    • Konbini
    • Le Point
    • Madame Figaro
    • France Culture