The International Center of Photography (ICP) presents Immersion: Gregory Halpern, Raymond Meeks, and Vasantha Yogananthan, an exhibition showcasing three projects created by the artists during their respective residencies—Halpern’s in Guadeloupe, Yogananthan’s in New Orleans, and Meeks’s in France, first near the Spanish border and then along the coast of the English Channel. On view September 29, 2023, through January 8, 2024, the projects are part of Immersion, a French-American Photography Commission created by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès and presented in collaboration with ICP and the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paris. Consisting of alternating residencies between France and the United States, the Immersion program supports contemporary photography. Each laureate creates an original series to be shared with a wide audience through exhibitions at ICP and the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, as well as through publications. 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. The exhibition marks the debut presentation of The Inhabitants.
“We are so pleased to collaborate with Fondation d’entreprise Hermès and Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson on this project, in which three contemporary photographers further the understanding of socially and politically engaged images that is at the core of ICP’s mission,” said ICP Executive Director David E. Little. “This presentation not only introduces new photographic work but is also strengthened by the publication of each project as a photobook, allowing for further insight into the artists’ processes.”
Let the Sun Beheaded Be by Gregory Halpern (USA) is an ensemble of photographs taken during his 2019 residency in the archipelago of Guadeloupe, an overseas region of France with a violent colonial past. Guided by the region’s rich diversity and vernacular culture, Halpern’s images embrace and develop the Caribbean Surrealism of Martinican writer Aimé Césaire (1913–2008), from whose work the project’s title is borrowed. Slow and intimate, Halpern’s photographs pick out small details in which the tremors of history can be felt.
Vasantha Yogananthan (France) made Mystery Street in New Orleans during the spring and summer of 2022. Following a group of children as they play and explore together, Yogananthan’s images are alert to the subtleties of place, friendship, and growth. Replete with the artist’s celebrated attention to light and sumptuous use of color, Mystery Street is a visual poem told in fragments, full of life, light, and the possibilities of youth.
Raymond Meeks (USA), an artist renowned for the unhurried nuance and contemplative intelligence of his photographs, spent much of 2022 in two regions of France—the southern border with Spain and the northern coast along the English Channel—that are important crossings for asylum seekers making their way to the United Kingdom. The Inhabitants, infused with care and deep empathy, looks to the land itself—its traces and pathways—as a silent witness to uncertain futures. What are the effects of this type of migrant life, when one is forced to leave behind one’s culture, to feel unseen and voiceless, to not feel at home in the world? This debut presentation of The Inhabitants features photographs interspersed with fragmentary texts by George Weld, in a deeply empathetic exploration of the terrain that bears witness to the spaces of temporary dwelling and fraught transit of so many who are seeking better lives.
Immersion: Gregory Halpern, Raymond Meeks, and Vasantha Yogananthan is curated by David Campany, Curator-at-Large at ICP. Campany has worked all over the world, with cultural institutions including Tate Modern and the Whitechapel Gallery, in London; the Centre Pompidou and Le Bal, in Paris; and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. He has also collaborated with leading photographic institutions and publishers such as Aperture, Steidl, MIT Press, Thames & Hudson, MACK, and Frieze.
“All artists want to be able push themselves, to work in new situations, to take risks,” said David Campany, Curator-at-Large at ICP. “Immersion allows this to happen with full support, mentorship and feedback. Being able to make exhibitions in the USA and France, as well as publishing a book of their project, grants the Immersion artists important new levels of exposure and expression.”
Launched in 2014, Immersion, a French-American Photography Commission program created by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, supports photography in France and the United States through the making, exhibition, and publication of contemporary photography. Each year, within the framework of a partnership between the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, and the International Center of Photography, an artist residency results in an exhibition at each of the two latter institutions, accompanied by a bilingual photobook of the artist’s work in English and French.
Immersion is open to either photographers based in France, who are mentored by a French professional as they create a new photographic work in the United States, or to photographers based in the United States, who are mentored by an Anglophone professional as they create a new photographic work in France. Through this original photographic commission, the Foundation enables artists to pursue significant new projects that articulate their visions of the geographical and cultural territory they explore during their residencies.
Immersion : Gregory Halpern, Raymond Meeks, and Vasantha Yogananthan
September 29, 2023 – January 8, 2024
The International Center of Photography (ICP)
79 Essex Street
New York, NY 10002