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Announcing OpenWalls, Your Invitation to Arles

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“Hosting OpenWalls is an exciting opportunity to create an outstanding curated exhibition in an unusual setting,” says Julia de Bierre, who is opening up the walls of her internationally renowned gallery, Galerie Huit Arles, to exhibit 50 shortlisted images for a month in July 2019.

Launching to coincide with the 50th edition of Les Rencontres d’Arles, the world’s first and foremost photographic festival, OpenWalls is an awards initiative that gives emerging and established photographers the chance to exhibit in reputable locations around the world. For our first exhibition we are inviting work responding to the theme ‘Home & Away’, with the aim being to capture a sense of belonging, escapism, or identity.

© Brandon Dare

“I hope that the response to the theme will reflect all the qualities, and possibly contradictions, of British Journal of Photography’s readership,” says Julia. Which are? “Talented, informed, curious, conventional, cutting-edge, international or home-grown, and numerous!” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Galerie Huit Arles is located in the centre of Arles. Once used as a remarkable 17th century mansion, its classical architectural styling has been the setting for many of the latest names in contemporary art and photography. In the decade since its inception, it has grown into a leading photographic institution within Arles. Julia, the gallery’s owner, founder and curator, lends an atmospheric, traditional salon approach to the curation of the exhibitions she hosts.

© Christopher Bethell, The Duke of Earl

“Over the years, the gallery has built a solid reputation for its careful selection of artists – both established and emerging – and the quality and originality of its hangings and installations,” explains Julia. Indeed, soon after opening in 2007, she presented the V&A Museum’s Theatre Department exhibition of photographer Simon Annand’s ‘The Half’. “As a young gallerist, it was a huge privilege to collaborate with such a prestigious institution,” says Julia. Another successful collaboration was with Taschen Books, who placed Sebastiao Salgado’s monumental ‘GENESIS’ in the gallery’s grand entrance hall.

© Alexander Mourant, Aurelian

The gallery’s location is perfect for drawing the leading names in photography to peruse its illustrious walls. During Les Rencontres d’Arles, the world’s most established photographic festival, it places the photographers exhibited there on an international stage. “The immensely influential Rencontres d’Arles summer festival, founded in 1969, is the highlight of the year,” explains Julia. “The opening week in July is especially intense, as the Who’s Who of the photography world descends on Arles to participate in this extraordinary celebratory event.”

© Nicholas White, Black Dots

Our OpenWalls event will exhibit 50 shortlisted images at the gallery for a month in July 2019, to coincide with the 50th edition of Les Rencontres d’Arles, and three finalists will receive return flights and accommodation to attend the opening of the exhibition and the festival’s professional week. While there, key industry experts will gather to choose a winner.

We are launching OpenWalls with the aim to collaborate with respected galleries around the world, opening up the walls of otherwise exclusive spaces to offer the chosen artists a wider platform from which to exhibit their work. First stop Arles, next stop the world!

Enter OpenWalls now and join us in Arles in 2019.

© Christopher Bethell, The Duke of Earl
© Alexander Mourant, Dissipate I
© Brandon Dare
© Christopher Bethell, The Duke of Earl
© Nicholas White, Black Dots




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