Edition 2024



1 July - 29 September 2024

10.00 AM - 07.30 PM




Robert Adams (1937), Manuel Álvarez Bravo (1902-2002), Yolanda Andrade (1950), Diane Arbus (1923-1971), Lewis Baltz (1945-2014), Bernd et Hilla Becher (1931-2007 ; 1934-2015), Juan Enrique Bedoya (1966), Harry Callahan (1912‑1999), Luc Chessex (1936), David Consuegra (1939-2004), Moyra Davey (1958), Facundo de Zuviria (1954), Jean-Paul Deridder (1963), Peter Downsbrough (1940), Mitch Epstein (1952), Walker Evans (1903-1975), Cesare Fabbri (1971), Hans‑Peter Feldmann (1941‑2023), Lee Friedlander (1934), Marcello Galvani (1975), Paolo Gasparini (1934), Jim Goldberg (1953), Guido Guidi (1941), Anthony Hernandez (1947) Graciela Iturbide (1942), Gerry Johansson (1945), Tarrah Krajnak (1979), Zoe Leonard (1961), Helen Levitt (1913‑2009), Pablo López Luz (1979), Mike Mandel (1950), Miyamoto Ryuji (1947), Francesco Neri (1982), Nicholas Nixon (1947), Jo Ractliffe (1961), Max Regenberg (1951), Martha Rosler (1943), Judith Joy Ross (1946), Ed Ruscha (1937), Mark Ruwedel (1954), Georges Senga (1983), Larry Sultan (1946), Ursula Schulz-Dornburg (1938), Sergio Trujillo (1945), Henry Wessel (1942‑2018) and Garry Winogrand (1928-1984).

The numbers leave no doubt: around 5,500 photographs by some 100 photographers, collected over the past 30 years. Clearly, the A Foundation—Astrid Ullens de Schooten Whettnall’s Collection—has not been looking for showpieces, choosing rather to focus on ways of seeing, ways of thinking and stances towards the world that they embody. Collecting is seen, in fact, as a means to cultural mediation, promoting photography and with it our ability to see and to understand the world.

So composed, the foundation’s collection also testifies to another important truth: while it recognises that a single photograph can be beautiful, even great, it also knows that it says surprisingly little about the world. Only through a precise, structured, conceptual approach can photographs serve to create a visual language that can be read, understood and used to communicate by all. The foundation’s collection thus introduces us to a generation of conceptual documentary photographers whose structural approach offers us important insights into the world, nature and society, and into the lives of individual human beings and other living creatures.

Since the early 1960s, the single picture rapidly became obsolete. The call was now to “speak”, to form sentences: to create a block, a network, a grid, a cloud, a narrative of multiple pictorial or representational elements that on the one hand more closely reflected the complexity of the real, and on the other facilitated an understanding of the images themselves and so of the underlying reality.

Perhaps the conceptual documentary photographers are the last generation of photographers to have maintained the old claim. For have we not daily become more aware of grasping the void, seeking in vain to apprehend spaces that can no longer be grasped, understood through our senses. The A Foundation is well on its way to becoming an impressive monument to the visual culture that could still rely on the visible.

Urs Stahel

Curator: Urs Stahel.

Publications: SAGA. Une vie d’art et de regards, de Lewis Baltz à Tarrah Krajnak ; SAGA. A photographic journey from Lewis Baltz to Tarrah Krajnak, co-edition A Foundation and Ludion, 2024.

  • 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