HELEN MARTEN | Hervé Télémaque | Aspen Art Museum

Installation views, Hervé Télémaque: A Hopscotch of the Mind, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, 2022

Hervé Télémaque
A Hopscotch of the Mind

Aspen Art Museum, Colorado
Nov 4, 2022 – Mar 26, 2023

Since the late 1950s, Hervé Télémaque has created an expansive body of work with a playful visual vocabulary, featuring abstract gestures, cartoon-like imagery, and mixed media compositions. Through paintings, drawings, collages, objects, and assemblages, he brings together striking combinations of historical and literary references with those of consumer and popular culture. Incorporating images and experiences from his daily life, the artist’s extensive body of work draws connections between the realms of interior consciousness, social experience, and the complex relationships between image and language.

This exhibition brings together works made from the early 1960s until the present day, highlighting the enduring themes of Télémaque’s work through his multifaceted practice, including seminal works and never-before-seen pieces from the artist’s studio. Rather than taking a chronological approach, A Hopscotch of the Mind proposes a non-linear exploration of Télémaque’s visual vocabulary, encouraging viewers to jump between media and periods, forming their own associations between the disparate fragments of his idiosyncratic narration. The exhibition is an invitation for viewers to carve out their own pathways through the artist’s visual language, forming new associations based on their own experiences and perceptions.

The exhibition design by artist HELEN MARTEN references Télémaque’s play between graphic authority and painterly playfulness. Structured around motifs of recognizable architecture, which fragment between galleries, the viewing experience is one that moves in a process of construction and collapse. Familiar compositions—house, shed, window, tent, and cubicle—provide framing devices and contained environments, which mirror visual moments of perspective and exposure in the artist’s work. Following this sense of shifting viewpoints and narration within Télémaque’s compositions, the exhibition is composed using multiple facets and cut-away apertures, allowing works to be seen in collective and sequenced layers.

A Hopscotch of the Mind is the first solo exhibition of Télémaque’s work in a US museum. The show originated at the Serpentine, London (October 2021), curated by Joseph Constable and Hans Ulrich Obrist. Its new presentation at the Aspen Art Museum is curated by Joseph Constable, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and HELEN MARTEN, who has reconfigured the exhibition's design and staging.

A catalogue published on the occasion of the exhibition includes essays and interviews by Hervé Télémaque and Hans Ulrich Obrist, HELEN MARTEN, Lyonel Trouillot, C.C. McKee, Françoise Vergès, and Sarah Wilson.


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