Immersion: Gregory Halpern, Raymond Meeks, and Vasantha Yogananthan is an exhibition that highlights three artistic projects conceived by the photographers during their individual residencies—Halpern’s in Guadeloupe, Yogananthan’s in New Orleans, and Meeks’s in France.
These photographic endeavors are part of Immersion, a collaborative French-American Photography Commission initiated by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, and presented in partnership with ICP and the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paris. The Immersion program, which involves alternating residencies between France and the United States, provides support for contemporary photography. Each laureate produces an original series intended for broad public exposure through exhibitions at ICP and the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, as well as through published works. Gregory Halpern’s book, Let the Sun Beheaded Be (2020), is published by Aperture; Vasantha Yogananthan’s Mystery Street (2023) is published by Chose Commune; and Raymond Meek’s The Inhabitants (2023) is published by MACK.
Let the Sun Beheaded Be by Gregory Halpern (USA) comprises photographs captured during his 2019 residency in the archipelago of Guadeloupe, an overseas region of France marked by a tumultuous colonial history. Halpern’s images, influenced by the region’s diverse culture and vernacular, embody the Caribbean Surrealism of Martinican writer Aimé Césaire (1913–2008), whose work inspired the project’s title. Deliberate and intimate, Halpern’s photographs highlight small details resonating with historical tremors.
Mystery Street by Vasantha Yogananthan (France) was created in New Orleans during the spring and summer of 2022. Documenting a group of children engaged in play and exploration, Yogananthan’s images keenly observe the nuances of place, friendship, and growth. Infused with the artist’s renowned attention to light and vibrant use of color, Mystery Street is Yogananthan’s visual poem presented in fragments, capturing the vitality, light, and possibilities of youth.
Raymond Meeks (USA), known for the unhurried nuance and contemplative intelligence of his photographs, spent a significant part of 2022 in two regions of France—the southern border with Spain and the northern coast along the English Channel—crucial passages for asylum seekers en route to the United Kingdom. The Inhabitants, characterized by care and deep empathy, examines the land itself—its traces and pathways—as a silent witness to uncertain futures. The debut presentation features Meeks’s photographs interspersed with fragmentary texts by George Weld, offering a deeply empathetic exploration of the terrain that sheds light on the spaces of temporary dwelling and fraught transit for those seeking better lives.
The exhibition, Immersion: Gregory Halpern, Raymond Meeks, and Vasantha Yogananthan, is curated by David Campany, Curator-at-Large at ICP. With a global curatorial background, Campany has worked at esteemed cultural institutions worldwide, including Tate Modern and the Whitechapel Gallery in London, the Centre Pompidou and Le Bal in Paris, and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. He has collaborated with leading photographic institutions and publishers such as Aperture, Steidl, MIT Press, Thames & Hudson, MACK, and Frieze.
About the Immersion Program:
Launched in 2014, Immersion is an annual program that encompasses residencies, exhibitions, and publications. Created by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, the program supports photography in France and the United States by facilitating the creation, exhibition, and publication of contemporary photographic works. Each year, the program alternates between French and American photographers, enabling them to work in the other country under the guidance of a mentor. The resulting exhibitions at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson and the International Center of Photography are complemented by bilingual photobooks in English and French, providing a comprehensive platform for the artists’ projects. Through this unique commission, the Foundation empowers artists to embark on significant new projects that articulate their perspectives on the geographical and cultural territories explored during their residencies.
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