PRINT May 1999

World Report

Printemps de Cahors

The Printemps de Cahors is, in the words of its organizers, an annual “gamble.” The youngest of France’s major photography events (the venerable Rencontres Internationals in Arles is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary this summer, while Perpignan’s “Visa for the Image,” devoted to photojournalism, is now in its eleventh year), the eight-year-old festival is dedicated to presenting the cutting edge of photography and the visual arts to the broadest possible public—an inevitable challenge. But Printemps de Cahors has clearly staked out both its territory and its style. The focus on photography as contemporary art is only one of its distinctive features: The constantly changing venues in historic and modern sites throughout the southwestern French city, the coupling of visual and performing arts, and the spectacular nighttime promenades, not to mention free admission, private sponsorship (which makes up 75 percent of the funding this year), and a crew of 350 local volunteers, are staples of a festival that now draws some one hundred thousand visitors every year.

Under this year’s umbrella theme, “EXTRAetORDINAIRE” (Extra and ordinary), curator Christine Macel brings together works by thirty-eight international artists, including well-known figures such as Anna+Bernhard Blume, Raymond Hains, Mac Adams, Erwin Wurm, and Fischli & Weiss—plus special guest Lou Reed, for a first-ever exhibit of his photographs—as well as a considerable number of newcomers, among them video artists Laetitia Bénat and Christelle Lheureux, installation artist Shimabuku, and performance artist Jun Yang. In addition to nine indoor exhibition sites, nineteen projects will be presented in public spaces throughout Cahors.

Printemps de Cahors, “EXTRAetORDINAIRE,” June l8–July 4.