Spanning a range of decades and media, our 5 To See examines both the individual trials and collective challenges of living in the modern world. From Steve McQueen’s poignant depiction of a man’s journey through life in Ashes, to Josef Koudelka’s moving photographic portrayal of exile at the Centre Pompidou, the subject of the human condition is constantly present. Leaning towards a more contemporary agenda, is a new installation by Richard Mosse, Incoming, at the Barbican, which uses thermographic imaging technology to comment upon the refugee crisis in Syria, Libya and other locations, and Hamish Fulton’s Walking without a Smartphone – a show that offers a respite from technological dependency.
1. Steve McQueen, Ashes, ICA Boston
A standout piece from the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015, Steve McQueen’s Ashes at ICA Boston marks its debut in the US. Created between 2002-2015, the work presents footage on two sides of a freestanding screen: one side, shot on grainy Super 8 film, features a young, carefree fisherman named Ashes balancing on a pitching boat; the other side, shot in 16mm film, depicts the protagonist’s unexpected fate. Connected only by a shared soundtrack, the moving-image works examine the darker forces of society and fate.
2. Richard Mosse, Incoming, Barbican, London
Conceptual documentary photographer and Deutsche Börse Photography Prize winner Richard Mosse creates an immersive multi-channel video installation in the Barbican’s the Curve. In collaboration with composerBen Frost and cinematographer Trevor Tweeten, the artist has been working with a new thermographic weapons and border imaging technology that registers a heat signature of temperature difference at distances greater than 30km. Mosse uses this innovation to comment on the unfolding refugee crisis.
3. Josef Koudelka, La fabrique d’exils, Centre Pompidou, Paris
Centre Pompidou brings all 75 of Czech-French photographer Josef Koudelka’s Exilsimages to the city of Paris. This exhibition presents some of the most representative shots from that series together with a number of previously unpublished pictures printed for the occasion. The show concludes with unseen self-portraits taken by Koudelka over the course of his travels and also features some of the artist’s thematic albums. The gallery provides a comprehensive insight into the Exils series, which captures his experiences in Czechoslovakia and beyond from the 1970s to the 1980s.
4. Hamish Fulton, Walking without a Smartphone, Häusler Contemporary München
In today’s society we cannot imagine to live without a smartphone anymore. The small multifunctional device is our permanent companion. Walking without a Smartphone continues Hamish Fulton’s interest in the idea of motion and landscape as visual artworks. Since 1967, the artist has been creating an invisible net of steps through countries in numerous conceptually based walks. For the exhibition, Fulton has personally selected pieces from the past 20 years of his oeuvre. These sculptures and works on paper are accompanied by a new wall work which is concerned with a 28-day walk in Nepal.
5. Duane Hanson Polaroids: 1979–1994, Aperture Gallery, New York
Coproduced by Aperture Foundation and Gagosian Gallery, Duane Hanson Polaroids: 1979–1994 celebrates the work of the hyper-realist sculptor. Recognised for his three-dimensional representations of everyday people, Hanson uses photography as a primary means for developing his vision. This unique exhibition showcases a series of Polaroids taken by the artist between 1979-1994; each one used to sketch out his sculptures and highlight his subjects’ subtle gestures. The Polaroids on view were often pinned to the wall, or spattered with paint, so they are not pristine but appear changed by the artist’s hand.
1. Josef Koudelka, France 1980. Collection Centre Pompidou Paris. Copyright: the artist and Magnum Photos.