Jeremy Demester, OUIDAH

Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin

14 March – 30 May 2020

Jeremy Demester lives and works between Paris and Ouidah, Benin, where he has established a studio. According to the Voodoo cults of the Yoruba culture, rooted in Togo, Benin and Nigeria, Ouidah is the city of revenants. Living closely to the spirits, Demester creates works inspired – in the strongest sense – by the vicinity of the otherworld, embodied in the most extraordinary objects, as well as the most common.

The present exhibition was developed through consultation with several Voodoo masters (Vodounnon). An oracle gave the artist twenty-one words. These words, such as sun, moon, arrow or cross, are all symbols that populate the works to activate the world of spirits. Stirred by invisible forces, Demester’s paintings embrace the infinite metamorphoses of this cult, through their intense colourism and their exploration of primordial energies.

Demester’s works are presented along with art objects from his own collection, created in Ouidah, which bear witness to several aspects of the Voodoo journey. The Voodoo art objects take various forms and continually evolve in response to the fluctuations of the Western market, which can be felt in the availability of certain fabrics or in clothing fashions. Voodoo, an ancestral force, embodies in all materials – it dominates life.

“Jeremy Demester’s painting is action, vision and prose. In search of new possibilities in the world, the painter probes experience through intuition. It is his guide. In front of the artwork, intuition favors astonishment over assurance and pushes the painter to approach the impossible.” (Annabelle Gugnon, 2018)

Jeremy Demester (*1988, Digne), lives and works in Paris. Demester’s work has been presented in solo and group exhibitions, such as at the MUba Eugène Leroy, Tourcoing (2019); Château Malromé, Saint André-du-Bois (2018); Mucciaccia Contemporary, Rome (2017); Musée d’art moderne et contemporain de Saint-Étienne, Saint-Étienne; Palais de l’École des Beaux-Arts, Paris (both 2016); Zinsou Foundation, Ouidah and Palais des Beaux-Arts, Paris (both 2015), among others. His work can be found in the public collections of the Foundation Zinsou, Ouidah; Istanbul Modern, Istanbul and Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain Saint-Étienne Métropole, Saint-Étienne, among others.

Due to the Covid-19 emergency the exhibition might be closed until further notice. We invite you to check the website of the organizers to find the latest updates.

All images > Exhibition view Jeremy Demester. Courtesy, Galerie Max Hetzler