Gregory Halpern: Soleil cou coupé (Let the Sun Beheaded Be) at Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paris, September 8 – October 18, 2020

“American photographer Gregory Halpern—laureate of the 2018 edition of Immersion, a French-American Photography Commission—chose Guadeloupe as the destination for his residency, guided by the island’s history and the poetry of Aimé Césaire (1913-2008). Halpern set out to discover the island’s people, fauna and flora but was fascinated, too, by the burden of history and its traces in everyday surroundings. The exhibition ‘Soleil cou coupé’ (‘Let the Sun Beheaded Be’) is accompanied by Halpern’s monograph of the same name, published by Aperture. The book includes a preface by Clément Chéroux, former Senior Curator of Photography at SFMOMA and the photographer’s mentor throughout his residency.” — Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson

“When asked about the reasons he chose Guadeloupe for his project, Gregory Halpern replies: ‘I think I knew I would find a certain form of surrealism there.’ Indeed, there is something in his photographs of the Caribbean surrealism incarnated by the writer Aimé Césaire. In three successive journeys—the longest of which, in the spring of 2019, lasted two months—Halpern traveled to Guadeloupe as part of Immersion, a French-American Photography Commission of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès. Every day, from late morning until sunset, he set out to photograph what he saw. With the perseverance of a gold digger sifting through river sand in the hope of finding a nugget, he scoured the island, most often on foot. What brought Halpern’s process close to that of surrealist wandering was, first of all, the way he set out to photograph. As he had already done elsewhere, he laid himself open to receiving what the place had to give.” […] — Excerpt from the essay “GH/971” by Clément Chéroux

Images: Gregory Halpern, Untitled, from the series Let the Sun Beheaded Be, 2019, courtesy of the artist © Gregory Halpern

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Gregory Halpern © Gregory Halpern

The title of the show, Soleil Cou Coupé (Let the Sun Beheaded Be), is borrowed from Martinican writer Aimé Césaire (1913-2008), whose poetry inspired Gregory Halpern during his time in Guadeloupe.

Gregory Halpern: Soleil cou coupé was curated by Clément Chéroux in collaboration with Agnès Sire.

Images courtesy Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson.