Mission: An annual summertime event, Rencontres introduces the public to contemporary photographic creation and its topicality through occupation of a particular territory: the Gaspé Peninsula. There it presents a series of exhibitions and installations, public events conceived as a space for reflection and initiation, and a program of artist residencies and of exchanges with festivals in other countries.

TRANSCENDING THE COMMONPLACE :
theme of the 15th edition of Rencontres

It all started at a meeting with Kinuko Asano, director of the gallery Écho 119, and the decision to entrust her with the curatorship of an exhibition that brought together five Japanese artists for the 2024 edition.
Out of discussions with the artists, their proposals, and the omnipresence of the everyday in their work, this idea of Transcending the commonplace emerged, the theme of our 15th edition. Around that idea we assembled different bodies of work that are part of the “humanity of the moment,”[1] a concept that makes the artist an observer, a researcher.

HISTORY

A first photographic mission involving contact with a territory and its population titled Parcours du point de vue was created in the Gaspé in June 2009. This consisted of ten installations spread out over the territory, the result of the residencies of five guest artists. It was against this backdrop that Rencontres was launched in 2010.

Over the years we have taken important steps and concluded agreements so that our event become part of an enormous network dedicated to the visual arts, further to the objective of offering artists new platforms for creation and dissemination. We seek to support contemporary creation and to forge lasting bonds with visitors. The development of an audience and the circulation of works are at the heart of our actions.

Each edition of Rencontres is the opportunity to address different artistic approaches by way of activities such as artist residencies, get-togethers with the public, and school-based undertakings. Our contribution to the development of the discipline is confirmed at the panels and discussion forums that we organize between artists and the public.

Our 2nd edition resulted in a highly positive balance sheet, with figures to support it. According to the Étude d’achalandage, de provenance et de retombées économiques (Study of Patronage, Origin and Economic Repercussions) conducted by SEGMA Recherche, the 2011 edition attracted 113,062 visits to photographic exhibits and installations in the 13 host municipalities, generating total direct expenditures of $9,668,456 in the Gaspé. In 2015, Rencontres received visits from over 70,000 people to the exhibitions as a whole, for a total of 210,000 exhibit visits. Since then, our audience has steadily increased!

The proposal the event started out with has been supplemented by components that have enriched our activities:

  • Rencontres on Tour
  • Residencies and support for artists
  • Photo education activities
  • Roundtables concerning the discipline
  • Networking and collaboration in Québec and elsewhere and the establishment of creation and dissemination platforms
  • Photographic missions that for seven years have been documenting the contemporary Québec landscape, in collaboration with artist centers
  • A component devoted to photobooks since 2015
  • Creation of the book publisher Escuminac, and publishing and co-publishing projects with Europe