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Gros-Câlin Zinsou Foundation Museum, Ouidah // 10 January – 30 June 2021

Five years ago, Jeremy Demester set foot on Ouidah’s red ground for the first time. After gathering and studying numerous oral myths from the Tzigane community, he started this journey to Vaudoo’s birthplace to understand the imaginative power linking Vodun society to the travelling people. His pictorial work is devoted to recomposing a language of sensitive and simple forms which reveal a profoundly human substance and instinctive movements, like the composite representations we call fetishes. Object, image, animal or person; the fetish is a creative vector through the progressive abstraction of itself. For the artist: “the construction of a fetish is not only part of Benin endogenous cults, it is found in all civilisations”; according to him, it is “the key to integration and intellectualisation of the invisible into the visible in one object”. Gros-Câlin (Big hug) is an ensemble of twenty artworks named after a book by Romain Gary (Émile Ajar). The exhibition gathers and puts in order the visions of an artist who gives a central place to intuition in his work, viewing this faculty as a mental technology which the modern man is barely experimenting. The Zinsou Foundation Museum is, according to Jeremy Demester, a true heterotopia, “between illusion and perfection, time appears as ‘other’, it is an island where any reality can be reborn”.

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