Cistercian Abbey and Les Rencontres

In rounding off the second week of the program, we made the last of our excursions before the few remaining sessions leading up to the presentations. First, the photographers, along with a few extra students, had the pleasure of visiting the city of Arles for the Les Rencontres festival. In going to the premier photography festival in the world, those who traveled were able to see contemporary photographers and their work whilst also viewing more retrospective pieces such as the early work of Annie Leibovitz. Les Rencontres provided the photographers a fantastic insight into professional fine-art photography and illuminated the different methods they can use to group and present their work for their final exhibition.


Meanwhile, drawing and paintingalong with the architecture students traveled further into the Ardèche to visit the Cistercian Abbey of Mazan. Built in the 12th century, Mazan was the predecessor to the now famous Abbey de Sénanque. Upon arrival, staff and students were both surprised to see the Abbey partially converted into a contemporary art instillation for Le Partage des Eaux program featuring across the region. As can be seen in the photographs, the artist painted Mazan with gold circles, which can only be fully viewed at specific viewpoints in the surrounding hillsides.

Nevertheless, both staff and students quickly set to touring the grounds and beginning the days work. The architecture students were given a watercolour perspective tutorial, while at the same time, the drawing and painting members toured the Abbey’s grounds and settled on their own spot for an acrylic study. The trip to Mazan provided another great insight into the culture and history of the Ardèche, whilst giving both groups the chance to supplement their already growing body of work.

With the last of the excursions finished, we are now going full-steam ahead for the presentations this coming Thursday and Friday. Least to say, we are all very excited to see the final pieces coming together and each student’s complete body of work coming to fruition.