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Five years ago Jeremy Demester set foot for the first time on the red earth of Ouidah.

After collecting and studying many oral myths of the Gypsy community, he undertakes this journey to the cradle of Voodoo in order to understand what are the links of imaginative power that connect Vodun societies and traveler peoples.


His pictorial work strives to recompose a language of sensitive and simple shapes whose deeply human substance and instinctive gestures can be guessed, like those composite representations that are fetishes. Object, image, animal, or person; the fetish is a vector of creation by the process of progressive abstraction of itself. For the artist: "the construction of a fetish is not only part of the endogenous cults of Benin, it is present in all civilizations", and it is for him "the key to integration and 'intellection of the invisible in the visible in a single object'.


“Gros-Câlin” is a set of twenty works that borrows its title from the novel by Romain Gary (Emile Ajar).


The exhibition assembles and orders the visions of a painter who places his intuition at the center of his work, considering this faculty as a mental technology that modern man is barely experiencing.

The Zinsou Foundation Museum is, according to Jeremy Demester, a true heterotopia, "between illusion and perfection, time appears different there, it is an island from which all reality can be reborn".

"Concerning the exhibition, I saw the rooms of the Museum of Ouidah and I ordered canvas formats that will fit the place. I paint in relation to the space. It is the place that imposes the formats on me. The idea is to create something that is already embodied in the house and to make it come out of the walls. I paint so that the painting lives, so that others live it and then it is caught up by other people who continue it. It's a way of passage in fact, and that's what I experienced, through my culture. It's a mixture between the popular gypsy culture and my Provencal culture." 


"I paint without having an idea beforehand. Like a vision. It happens and I paint. There is no goal. I will put myself in an almost animal state to paint. For a month, people can talk to me, but not too much. I try to be the vehicle for something I don't understand. That's why my paintings don't have a speech. It is difficult to explain. 


I want to transmit joy, and strength. When sometimes I hear music or see works that touch me, it gives me strength. These painters who have made paintings that have existed for perhaps 400 years, these writers who have written books, they no longer exist. But they still manage to give you strength, by their absence! When you live with works, sometimes there are things that galvanize you. For me, this is what is important today, that these paintings give the strength to continue, to exist, to create events, encounters. Beauty is absolutely in the amalgam, it is not in the separation of ideas. We cannot be divided, we cannot be divided anymore. There are too many people. We need a common environment. We realize that all the current technology of our Western societies does not seek any more to create common mediums, and, I believe that the painting, is one of these places where we will be able to always find ourselves."

Jeremy Demester

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