Since the late 1950s, Hervé Télémaque has created an expansive body of work with a unique and 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 consistently draws connections between the realms of interior consciousness, social experience and the complex relationships between image and language.
Born in 1937 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Télémaque left for New York in 1957 entering an art scene dominated by Abstract Expressionism. In 1961, he moved permanently to Paris, associating with the Surrealists and later co-founding the Narrative Figuration movement in France with art critic Gérald Gassiot-Talabot and artist Bernard Rancillac. A reaction against the dominant trend towards Abstract art and the developing movement of Pop art in North America, Télémaque’s Narrative Figuration often results in works with a Pop sensibility that incorporate consumer objects and signs. The artist then inflects these images with an astute criticality, producing work in dialogue with current events, such as the Cold War, the Cuban missile crisis, US intervention in the Dominican Republic, and contemporary French politics.
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