Edition 2023


Rosângela Rennó

On the ruins of photography

“[Photography] is born on the level of the sprouting silver grains, it flourishes a moment, then ages... Attacked by light, by humidity, it fades, weakens, vanishes...”– Roland Barthes

Like living organisms, photographs are doomed to die. As a reliable, albeit impermanent witness, photography appears to incite humans to cease to perceive time, both affectively and symbolically.

Disappearance–death–is a persistent presence in Rosângela Rennó’s work. The artist collects images from different times and places, assembling and reassembling them, erasing identities and overlaying glazes. The photos return from the past damaged and debilitated, as life is never fully restored to them; these weakened witnesses wait for a non-existent future while evoking an endless past.

Enlarged CMYK reticules blur bodies and faces (Body of Soul [Corpo da Alma] 2003-2009); sophisticated, ironic interventions using ink, scissors, paper and glue destabilize the topos of a wedding portrait (Nuptials [Nuptias] 2017). The busts at the Museum of Anthropology in Las Palmas merge, shadow upon shadow, into the marmori finti of marbled paper (Notable Beings of the World [Seres notáveis do mundo] 2014-2021). Collected online, amateur photos of monuments to Lenin, commemorated, destroyed or moved following the dissolution of the USSR, are laid across a warp of handwritten comments, places and empty spaces. Veering between iconophilia and iconoclasm, it becomes apparent that statues too are destined to die (Good Apples/Bad Apples 2019).

People, populations, religions and rituals all disappear; words, books, memories and monuments vanish... Even photography as we knew it until the 19th-century is gone. Some of us can still recall how the images would begin to emerge, blurrily, in the developer bath beneath the studio’s red light...

When analog photography disappeared, it took with it time, long waits, slowly developing images and accurate evidence. Rennó’s work, impregnated with times and memories, extracts images from their infinite flow and reveals them to us in the incompleteness of the instant.


Maria Angélica Melendi

On July 4, 2023, Kering and the Rencontres d'Arles will present to Rosângela Rennó the Women In Motion Award at the Théâtre Antique in Arles. This award, recognizing the career of an outstanding photographer, has previously been given to Susan Meiselas (2019), Sabine Weiss (2020), Liz Johnson Artur (2021) and Babette Mangolte (2022).

With the collaboration of Mor Charpentier gallery, Paris.  

With support from Kering | Women In Motion.

  • 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