See gallery

02 Jul > 23 Sep


Part of the Rencontres de la Photographie d'Arles

Matthieu Ricard & Simon Velez

Contemplation Exhibition,

Both an art event and a spiritual exploration, CONTEMPLATION is a one-of-a-kind collaboration between the photographer and Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard and the Columbian architect Simón Vélez.

This multidisciplinary artistic undertaking combines photography, architecture, music and meditation and aims to use art as a window upon fundamental values of our time: serenity, altruisme, respect for life…

CONTEMPLATION is a sober and monumental setting for Matthieu Ricard’s photography. The exhibit takes place in a central room which is surrounded by an outside corridor that creates and allows the contemplation movement. Taking place on the banks of the Rhône, facing the old city of Arles, the Pavilion respects Simón Vélez’s approach which mixes and balances materials and structures with natural elements. The structure can accommodate simultaneously 100 visitors. It is almost exclusively composed of the Colombian Guadua bamboo and of other local materials such as the La Crau pebbles, or the reeds of the Camargue for its roof.

The Pavilion is the first to prefabrication project made by the two architects. It opened up new possibilities for construction and architecture: it can be disassembled, transported and reassembled wherever CONTEMPLATION may go.

Along with the CONTEMPLATION space and exhibition, there will also be a special event entwining classical music and meditation that will be held at the ancient Roman theatre in Arles the evenings of 28 and 29 July 2018. The pianist Maria João Pires will interpret Preludes and Fugues by Bach, in dialogue with Matthieu Ricard for an intimate and intense experience.

Artistic info

Matthieu Ricard

Matthieu Ricard is a Buddhist monk, a scientist, a writer, a translator, and also a photographer. For more than 40 years, he has been focussed on practicing Buddhism through the teachings of the great Tibetan masters in the heart of the  Himalayas. 

Matthieu’s spiritual life and his camera are one, and this is the source of these fleeting yet eternal images.” Henri Cartier-Bresson

Simón Vélez

Simón Vélez is an internationally renowned Columbian architect who is fascinated with the use of raw natural materials such as bamboo. Simón Vélez’s practice is founded on a respect for both the work itself and the people who carry it out, while always placing a value on the sharing of knowledge and the spreading of expertise. Simón Vélez was recognised during the Biennale de Venise in 2016.


Leading Sponsor: VINCI Construction France.
Coproduced by Rencontres d’Arles and the Fonds de Dotation Contemplation.
In collaboration with the Fondation Luma, the International Piano Festival of La Roque d’Anthéron, the City of Arles, and SNCF Immobilier.
With the technical support of JC Decaux, Marfret, FTPA AVOCATS, Myamo and Enlaps.


Exhibition open from 2 July to 23 September 2018.
Open daily from 10am to  7:30pm, last entry 30 minutes before doors close.

Ticket Info

Paid Event
Get tickets

Exhibition part of the Rencontres d’Arles pass.

More information at 0490967606 or at

Practical Information

Exhibition accessible to those with reduced mobility.

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