As a descendant of the wandering ancestry of the Romani community, Jeremy Demester (b. 1988, Digne) draws from a wide variety of cultures and traditions within his oeuvre. It is an inherited wanderlust that first drew the artist to Benin in 2015, where he was invited for a residency at the Zinsou Foundation in Ouidah. Here, Demester discovered an alternate way of connecting to the world, through the power of magic, rituals and dance inspired by a keen observance and insightful knowledge of the country’s nature and ancient rites. Today, he returns regularly to Benin to work.
Demester’s recent works gather and convey the visions of an artist who gives a central place to intuition, which is a driving force in his practice. “Painting is a body in which thought and unknown desires are embodied,” he explains. Drawing on the rich folklore, oral history, mystics and mythology of Benin culture, Demester explores the imaginative forces that bind Vodun societies and travelling peoples in his vibrant paintings, esoteric sculptures and intricate works on paper. Frequently executed in vivid layers of paint – at times free-flowing and gestural, at others meticulously rendered – his work speaks to the dreamy, expressive landscapes of the spiritual world.
Image: FTW #1,
oil on canvas,
300.5 x 201 x 3.5 cm.; 118 1/8 x 78 3/4 x 1 3/8 in.
Selected Institutional Exhibitions
L’ombre des heures, Le retable du temps, 2021 inaugurated at Maison Hennessy’s new Atelier de Tonnellerie in Cognac
Translating to “The Shadow of the ...