Interior photos by Aurore Valade

Walls of Power
Man-made barriers throughout Europe

Maison des Lices
July 1 – August 25, 2019
Rencontres d'Arles international photography festival (Arles, France)

We tend to see European culture as open and inclusive. Nevertheless, in recent years, we have seen barriers rising all over the continent. Building walls to protect a land is nothing new. We do not need to look back as far as Hadrian’s Wall; throughout our history there have been barriers splitting up the European landscape. Through contemporary documentary photography, the exhibition investigates walls, fences, and their immediate surroundings; specifically, those erected by authorities and still standing today to prohibit people from either leaving or entering the European territory. Although there are prime examples of walls of all sorts around the world—such as on the US-Mexican border, between the two Koreas, Israel and the West Bank, Pakistan and India, and South Ossetia, just to name a few—this selection concentrates on one continent, Europe. The group photo exhibition differentiates three types of walls according to their purpose: Walls of Influence, Walls of Segregation, and Walls of Migration.



With photographs, videos and objects by Lvova Anastasiya, Olivia Arthur/Magnum Photos, Arnau Bach, Attila Balázs/MTI, István Bielik, David Brauchli/Reuters, Sergi Cámara, Tijen Erol, Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters, Claus Felix/DPA, Christiane Feser, George Georgiou, Axel Grünewald, András D. Hajdú, Patrick Hertzog/AFP, Balázs Ivándi-Szabó, Ciril Jazbec, Jérémie Jung/Signatures, Dejan Kaps, Davor Konjikušić, Dmitri Makhomet, Gérard Malié/AFP, Kevin McElvaney, Simon Móricz-Sabján, Vesselina Nikolaeva, Daniel Leal Olivas, José Palazón/Reuters, Marcell Piti, Frankie Quinn, Tomáš Rafa, Ferenc Rédei, Timofey Rozhansky, Jérôme Sessini/Magnum Photos, Lutz Schmidt/AP, Łukasz Skąpski, Tamás Sóki, TerraProject Photographers, Tamás Urbán/Fortepan, Kai Wiedenhöfer and Henk Wildschut.

Curator: István Virágvölgyi, winner of the Rencontres d’Arles curatorial research fellowship.
Exhibition manager: Amélie Samson

With support from the Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center.
The Rencontres d’Arles curatorial fellowship receives the support of Jean-François Dubos.

explore the project further here:

the virtual version of the show can be found here:



A world of walls: the brutish power of man-made barriers (The Guardian)

Wall-to-wall Europe: the continent's manmade barriers – in pictures (The Guardian)

Walls of Power - An exhibition at Les Rencontres d’Arles explores the motivations behind 30 existing man-made borders in Europe (British Journal of Photography)

Aux Rencontres d’Arles, les frontières hérissées de l’Europe s’exposent (Le Monde)

A hatalom falai Arles-ban (ArtMagazin) – video with English subtitles

How barriers still divide Europe 30 years since fall of Berlin Wall (EuroNews)

Europe has built barriers six times the length of the Berlin Wall since 1989 (EuroNews)

See Work by 7 of the Most Exciting Artists at the World’s Premier Photography Festival, Les Rencontres d’Arles (ArtNet)

Sztálin pipájának nyomától a gigantikus finn kőtömbökig: Európa falai (Index)

A berlini fal leomlása óta megtízszereződőtt a falak száma Európában (Qubit)

Beszéljünk medencés bulikon a fotográfiáról (Punkt)

Real bez filtra. Fotografia w czasach selfie. Co pokazują na największym festiwalu fotografii (Gazeta Wyborcza)

Singer-songwriter Gaëtan Roussel projects a selection of images from the exhibition while playing a song at Théâtre Antique in Arles (starting at 15:30)