The Luma Foundation was established in 2004 to support the activities of independent artists and pioneers, as well as institutions working in the fields of art and photography, publishing, documentary and multimedia.


Gilbert & George:

At a time of reflection on Gilbert & George’s one-of-a-kind half century of creating Art together, Luma Arles presents Gilbert & George: THE GREAT EXHIBITION (1971-2016), curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Daniel Birnbaum.
This exhibition seeks to capture and revel in Gilbert & George’s unique universe. Featuring a selection of historical pictures deemed by the artists themselves as the most representative of their art and life together.

Pipilotti Rist - Pixel Forest

Pixel Forest is one of the most recent works by Pipilotti Rist, presented here for the first time in France. The installation comprised of 3,000 LED lights, resembles a movie screen that has exploded into the space, immersing the viewer in a room-size 3-dimensional video.

L.A. Dance Project 2018

Returning for its third year, Luma is pleased to continue its partnership with L.A. Dance Project, a Los Angeles-based artist collective founded in 2012 by choreographer and dancer Benjamin Millepied.

Lily Gavin : A Story with Vincent

Following her graduation from Bard College, Gavin found herself taking photographs at the Saint Rémy Asylum on the invitation of filmmaker Julian Schnabel who offered her to be the on-set stills and behind-the-scenes photographer for his new film At Eternity’s Gate about Van Gogh’s life in Arles. She documented the recreated world of Van Gogh every day for 8 weeks, shooting entirely in 35 mm and 120 mm film. While growing up in a digital world, Gavin’s inclination toward analogue photography started at a very young age.

Arthur Jafa - APEX

Following last year’s Love Is the Message, The Message is Love, acclaimed filmmaker, cinematographer, and visual artist Arthur Jafa presents here his seminal video APEX (2013) for the first time in France.

Amar Kanwar - Such a Morning

Amar Kanwar is most known for his documentary films but in his latest film, which premiered in 2017 at documenta 14, he narrates a modern parable about two people’s quiet engagement with truth.


Luma Arles commissioned a new iteration of the site specific large scale installation entitled DO WE DREAM UNDER THE SAME SKY by conceptual artist Rirkrit Tiravanija and Frankfurt based architects Nikolaus Hirsch and Michel Müller.

Luma Days #2 Hospitality : Searching for Common Ground

Luma Days, our annual forum and open-house, generates an immersive environment to seed the development of strategies and projects designed to tackle issues that define the future.
The discussions are drawn from themes that are central to our research; Waste, Food, Education, Mobility, Production and Hospitality, with special consideration for the environment, public / private cooperation, sustainability, social entrepreneurship and the future of work.

L.A. Dance Project 2017

Returning for its second year, the Luma Foundation is pleased to continue its partnership with L.A. Dance Project. This Los Angeles-based artist collective was founded in 2012 by choreographer and dancer Benjamin Millepied, along with composer Nico Muhly, art consultant Matthieu Humery, founding producer Charles Fabius, and composer Nicholas Britel.

Peter Fischli David Weiss - Visible World

For more than three decades, Swiss artists Peter Fischli (b. 1952) and David Weiss (1946 – 2012) collaborated on a remarkable body of work that offers a deceptively casual meditation on how we perceive everyday life.
For Visible World (2000- 2014), they gathered thousands of images representing both magnificent and commonplace scenes from around the globe. Depicting almost every corner of the globe, from deserts and mountains to cities and jungles, the collection is as quixotic as it is encyclopaedic. To capture the entire world’s visual diversity is an impossible task, but Fischli and Weiss have embraced it with their characteristic enthusiasm and wonder.

Arthur Jafa - Love is the Message, The Message is Death

Artist and director Arthur Jafa presents a film of found footage – featuring Martin Luther King, Barack Obama, Jimi Hendrix or Beyoncé. It traces African-American identity and history through a large spectrum of contemporary imagery, with Kanye West’s gospel-inspired track, Ultralight Beam, giving the film a poetic background.

Luma Days #1

Luma Days is a public engagement platform of Atelier Luma and the Luma Foundation that explores issues of art, design, technology, activism and ecology. Luma Days acts as a mediator between the local and the global. It enables the development of strategies and projects designed to identify and develop scenarios for city planning and civic development through collaborative processes.

Jordan Wolfson - Colored Sculpture

Based in Los Angeles and New York, Jordan Wolfson (b. 1980) is known for his thought-provoking works in a wide range of media, including video, sculpture, installation, photography, and performance.
Inspired by the world of advertising, the internet, and the technology industry, Wolfson produces ambitious and enigmatic narratives that frequently revolve around a series of invented, animated characters.

L.A. Dance Project 2016

L.A. Dance Project’s mission is to create new work and to revive ground-breaking collaborations from influential dance makers, both in the theatre and in non-traditional environments. New works by the company are multidisciplinary collaborations across artistic disciplines, and include visual artists, musicians, designers, directors and composers.

SYSTEMATICALLY OPEN? New Forms for Contemporary Image Production

Produced by the Luma Foundation, SYSTEMATICALLY OPEN? New Forms for Contemporary Image Production explores new structures for the presentation of the photographic image. An examination of the relationships between photography and its various modes of display, the exhibition draws upon avant-garde, political, and critically conscious legacies of aesthetic production, provides a new framework for experiencing the image as a reproduction, and prompts a structural rethinking of the photographic medium.

William Kentridge - More Sweetly Play the Dance

Over the last three decades, South African artist William Kentridge (b. 1955) has achieved worldwide fame for his large, poetic, and incisive installations, which he has developed by combining different types of media: film, animation, drawing, music, and theatre.

La Cuisine des Forges

La Cuisine des Forges is a dynamic culinary program dedicated to the broader issues of cultural diversity and sustainability that are central to the greater mission of the Luma Foundation. It is an expression of the conviviality and diverse cultural heritage of the Arlesian and Camargue regions.

The Library is on Fire

The Library is on Fire follows the adventures of a creature looking for the form of its intelligence. The Swamp Thing lies back in the diagram of Inception. Stéphane Mallarmé discovers the Multiverse. A reading controller is plugged onto the prisms of To the Lighthouse. The Nautilus enters a stream of consciousness. Limbo walks towards the book dreamed by Ludmilla. Thought operations crystallize into glyphs. A new state of library is being pursued.

Symposium: How Institutions Think

Contemporary art and curatorial discourse have been centrally concerned with questions of institution. In recent decades, we have seen many debates on institutional critique, new institutionalism, institution practices, and self-organization. Most often these questions of institution have been apprehended through the categories of power, hegemony, hierarchy, control, value and discipline. Often in these debates, we seem to reach an impasse in contemporary art’s dialectic of institutionalized anti-institutionalism, but nonetheless new institutions of art and enquiry are being conceived, inaugurated and contested in different ways.

Liam Gillick, All-Imitate-Act

Alongside the Mécanique Générale stand enormous, hollowed out panels. If you place your head through any of them, you’re projected into Oskar Schlemmer or Kasimir Malevich’s body or even immortalised as a Bauhaus dancer or as a character from Victory Over The Sun. These panels recreate the abstract profiles of various costumes, outfits and characters created by artists in the period 1910 to 1940.

Imponderable: The Archives of Tony Oursler

Tony Oursler’s Imponderable is a two-part project: a book and a film that investigate the artist’s extraordinary collection of objects, photography and ephemera relating to the occult, séances, magic, optics, fairies, mesmerism, and many other areas of intrigue.
Since the mid-1990s, the artist has developed a number of optical timelines, tracing the development of ephemeral mimetic devices like the camera obscura, the magic lantern, and television; for Oursler, it constitutes a parallel art history.

Janet Cardiff - The Forty Part Motet

The audio installation The Forty Part Motet (2001) by Janet Cardiff (Canadian artist, born 1957), acclaimed by both public and critics, was presented in the building known as the Formation, at the Parc des Ateliers, Arles.

Frank Gehry: Solaris Chronicles

Over the course of six months, Solaris Chronicles examined the creative vision of Frank Gehry through a series of artistic interventions and projects that bridge art and architecture.

The Flood of Rights - Symposium

People now, almost routinely, make claims for their rights through user-generated communication channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr. In images, as well as words and sounds, these claims are proffered and conveyed – we could say, demonstrated – by the self-proclaimed rights bearers themselves, addressed sometimes very directly, sometimes to an undetermined public. These images and their consequences constitute a human rights praxis outside of its conventional sites such as law, government, NGO activity, and formal journalism. They present a radical expansion and consolidation of human rights practices and institutions, and no less a new kind of universalism that underpins and is transformed by these praxes, perhaps constructing a practical communicative ethos that is yet to be understood.

Wolfgang Tillmans: Neue Welt

Over 20 years Wolfgang Tillmans has tested and expanded the possibilities of photography in the most varied ways through his photographic and video works. His exhibition Neue Welt (New World) presents photographs from the artist’s new group of works of the same name, which were created in the course of numerous journeys.

ALTERED EARTH: Arles, City of Moving Images Doug Aitken

Doug Aitken’s ALTERED EARTH touches some of the core questions of our time in relation to art as well as to our digital age. It comprises distinct but interrelated elements, a contemporary earth-work, an installation of moving images and sound that is site-specific to the topography of the Camargue area around Arles and an iPad application that can be downloaded anywhere, allowing the artwork the potential for ubiquity.

To the Moon via the Beach

Announcement that work has commenced will be made by three short blasts on an air horn – drawing people to the Amphitheatre. This is an exhibition about work, production and change – ideas in constant motion. A moonscape will be created around which artists will develop new ideas. Everything will be visible – no difference between production, presentation and exchange.
- Liam Gillick and Philippe Parreno, 2012

The Human Snapshot Symposium

The Human Snapshot is a conference on latter day forms of universalism as circulated and consolidated through contemporary art and photography.
Organized by Thomas Keenan & Tirdad Zolghadr, in collaboration with Johanna Burton & Tom Eccles, originally based on a research project by Ariella Azoullay.

Architectural Project

Architectural project

The Luma Arles project is being led by Maja Hoffmann, who has put together a core team including Tom Eccles, Liam Gillick, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Philippe Parreno and Beatrix Ruf. The team’s members have each actively contributed to developing the architecture plan and the artistic programme.

First stage of the Luma Arles architectural project:
To develop a cultural platform that guarantees maximum flexibility for research and artistic production.

The Parc des Ateliers centre piece:
The Arts Resource Centre designed by Frank Gehry (1). It will house archives, exhibition and presentation spaces, seminar rooms and a café/restaurant.

Industrial buildings on the disused site of former SNCF workshops:
These are intended to host presentations, installations, exhibitions, artists’ residencies.

Five of these buildings are being renovated by Annabelle Selldorf.
- Les Forges (3)
Presentation / exhibition space
La Cour des Forges (3.1)
- La Mécanique Générale (5)
Presentation / exhibition space; workshop area occupied by Atelier Luma
- La Formation (4)
Performing Arts Residencies
- Former Administration Building (2)
Guest House; artists’ residencies

A historic building, la Grande Halle (6), was renovated in 2007 by the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. It is now a presentation & exhibition space.

The whole ensemble of buildings will be located in a public park ddesigned by landscape architect Bas Smets, including a pond and over 500 trees.

The opening is planned for 2020.

Sustainable development
In the interest of sustainable energy use, the consumption of primary energy is being minimized so as to use a larger share from natural energy sources. Thus, passive solar design technology is storing the sun’s heat in the rotunda of the Arts Resource Building designed by Frank Gehry; the exhibition spaces of the buildings renovated by Selldorf Architects are being naturally ventilated; the centralised system of cogeneration is fed with biodiesel; more than 2000 m2 of solar panels are being installed and rainwater will be collected for irrigating green spaces and providing water for sanitary facilities.

Funding the project
The Luma Foundation provided the seed funding to launch the project. Luma Arles is committed to working with local artisans, contractors, and suppliers and has been developed a program with the Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie to engage local companies. To date, nine out of 15 companies selected to work on Les Forges are from Arles and the region (74% of the global market). Eight out of 14 companies from Arles and the region have been involved on the renovation of the Mécanique Générale (that is 65% of the global market). Eight out of 15 companies from Arles and the region have been involved in the renovation of the Formation (that is 67% of the global market). 17 companies from Arles work on the Arts Resource Building’s construction site.

Frank Gehry, Gehry Partners, LLP
Annabelle Selldorf, Selldorf Architects

Executive Architecture Team
Studios Architecture, C + D

Landscape Architect
Bas Smets, Bureau Bas Smets

Project Management

Technical Consultants
Setec, Terrel, Tess, BMF, Socotec, Transsolar, Lamoureux, Terao, C & C, Casso

Parc des Ateliers

The Parc des Ateliers through the ages

Ancient period:
- End of 1st century BC: construction of the Roman Theatre of Arles. First traces of the Alyscamps necropolis.
- 80-90 AD: building of the Arles Amphitheatre.
- Beginning of 4th century AD: construction of the baths of Constantine.

Medieval period:
- 948: founding of the Montmajour abbey.
- 6th century: founding of the Saint-Césaire enclosure.
- 12th century: construction of Saint-Trophime cloister and cathedral.

"(...) It is the city of Arles, a city admirably placed by nature,
or rather for which nature has, so to speak, made its place (...) "
Alphonse de Lamartine to the French National Assembly on 30 April 1842

1842: the deputy and writer Alphonse de Lamartine supports the routing of the Paris-Lyon-Marseille railway line via Arles in the National Assembly. A first development phase for the site of the Arlesian railway workshops is then commenced (1845-1856).

Construction includes a workshop for the manufacture and repair of machinery, a carriage workshop, a wagon workshop and a machinery warehouse.

1848: the Avignon-Marseille section is inaugurated in Arles. This marks a period of economic boom for the city. The workshops become the city’s main employers, with up to 1,800 workers in 1920.

1868: creation of the Réattu Museum.

1888-1889: Vincent van Gogh moves to Arles, where he roams its landscapes and discover a light that nourishes his inspiration. Paul Gauguin joins him a few months before van Gogh begins to experience health problems, which leads to him leaving the region in May 1890.

1896: founding of the Museon Arlaten by Occitan writer Frédéric Mistral.

1904: Nobel Prize in Literature awarded to Frédéric Mistral for his work Mirèio (Mireille).

1937: France’s various railway companies merge to become the SNCF. Technological progress gradually replaces the steam train, and with it the Ateliers d’Arles that specialised in its construction.

1954: founding of the biological research institute for the conservation of Mediterranean wetlands (Tour du Valat) by Luc Hoffmann.

1961: creation of WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature). Luc Hoffmann becomes vice-president of the organisation.

1969: creation of the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie festival by Michel Tournier, Jean-Maurice Rouquette and Lucien Clergue.

1978: founding of Actes Sud publishing house by Hubert Nyssen.

1981: founding of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie (National School of Photography).

Despite several modernisation phases, the Parc des Ateliers undergoes progressive de-industrialisation and closes its doors in 1984 following a long decline in its activity. Abandoned, this wasteland in the centre of the city is gradually invaded by vegetation. Its buildings deteriorate and are sporadically used for storage, photography exhibitions or concerts.

1989: opening of the Médiathèque d’Arles (Arles media library).

1995: opening of the Departmental Museum of Ancient Arles.

From the mid-1990s, the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur region considers a number of rehabilitation projects to revitalise the site. The huge Grande Halle building is renovated and inaugurated in 2007.

2002: Maja Hoffmann, patron of the Rencontres d’Arles, and François Hébel, then director of the photography festival, create the Prix Découverte (Discovery Prize) in order to broaden the festival’s outreach and support emerging photographers.

2004: creation of the Luma Foundation to support and produce experimental projects led by artists and cultural institutions.

2006: release of Sketches of Frank Gehry, a documentary film directed by Sydney Pollack about the architect’s work, produced by Maja Hoffmann.

With Frank Gehry, Maja Hoffmann starts reflecting on the way art centres, creative spaces and exhibition spaces have developed in the world. She brings together a core group of curators, artists, architects and thinkers: Hans Ulrich Obrist, Philippe Parreno, Beatrix Ruf, Liam Gillick and Tom Eccles. Together, they are working to create a new cultural centre for the 21st century.

2008: the Luma Foundation co-signs with the City of Arles, the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region and the Rencontres d’Arles an agreement for the development of the Parc des Ateliers project.

2010: in order to support Arles’ emergent cultural vitality, the Ministry of Culture announces the National School of Photography will be granted a new building near the Parc des Ateliers.

Maja Hoffmann invites landscape architect Bas Smets to work on the landscaping project at the Parc des Ateliers, as well as architect Annabelle Selldorf for the renovation of the site’s buildings.

In association with the Rencontres d’Arles, the Luma Foundation begins an experimental phase of artistic programming in Arles, with events taking place at the Parc des Ateliers as well as other places around the city: its arenas, Alyscamps necropolis and Place de la République (Republic Square).

2010: How Soon Is Now? - A study of contemporary photography and a series of symposia.
2011: The Human Snapshot symposium.
2012: To the Moon via the Beach - a group exhibition.
2013: Neue Welt, an exhibition by Wolfgang Tillmans.

5 April 2014: following several years of research for the project, construction officially begins with a ceremony organised for the laying of the first stone of Luma Arles.

Maja Hoffmann wants the site to remain accessible to the public during the construction of the Arts Resource Centre (designed by Frank Gehry) and the rehabilitation of existing buildings. The Parc des Ateliers thus plays host to an artistic and cultural programme prefiguring its future activities as well as events linked to the Rencontres d’Arles.

From 2014 onwards, Les Forges building is renovated. Made available to the Rencontres d’Arles festival, the space allows for museum-quality exhibitions, and co-productions with various international institutions and collections.

2016: La Mécanique Générale building is completed, with a contemporary extension. The building is immediately opened to the public.

2017: the Luma Foundation celebrates the 10th anniversary of the renovation of the Grande Halle with a full interdisciplinary programme. The foundation launches the Living Archives programme with an exhibition dedicated to Annie Leibovitz and an installation by artist duo Fischli / Weiss.
A reception area, restaurant (Le Réfectoire), bookshop, and information and ticketing space are also created.

Spring 2018: opening of La Formation building, dedicated to the performing arts. It welcomes dance company L.A. Dance Project for its third year in residence at Luma Arles.

Autumn 2018: construction work begins on the public park designed by Bas Smets.

In a state of perpetual motion, Luma Arles continues to develop the Parc des Ateliers. A platform for authentically interdisciplinary cultural production, the site encompasses a whole of different spaces with a variety of purposes, sizes, qualities and equipment ranging from raw industrial to “white cube”. By turns, these each become spaces for exhibitions and events very varied in format.

A production workshop, a collection of living archives, an artist residency programme, a school, etc.: so many tools enabling the programme that will be animating this 7-hectare site.
Each of these activities crosses its expertise with themes related to art, the environment, human rights and education.

Luma Arles consists of five former industrial buildings:
- Les Forges, the first building renovated and rehabilitated by Annabelle Selldorf, opened in July 2014.
- La Mécanique Générale, completed in 2016.
- La Formation, completed in 2018.
- The Former Administration Building, scheduled to open in 2020.
- La Grande Halle, inaugurated in 2007
And the Arts Resource Centre (designed by Frank Gehry). Works planned from 2014 to 2020.