Retrospective of 200 Years of Haitian Art at the Grand Palais Galerie Nationale in Paris

By ARC Magazine Friday, September 26th, 2014 Categories: Exhibitions, Updates

The Grand Palais Galerie Nationale in Paris will be hosting a retrospective exhibition looking at 200 years of Haitian art, entitled ‘Haiti’. Focusing on Haitian art from the 19th century to the present day, the exhibition takes an approach that is simultaneously historical, social and cultural in its approach. Manuel Mathieu is pleased to be a part of such a significant exhibition. The show will run from 19th November 2014 to 15th February 2015. Read more below:

Promotional graphic for the exhibition ‘Haiti’. Photo credit: The Grand Palais Galerie Nationale

Against a background of urban chaos and vigorous popular culture, this exploration of the visual arts aims to go beyond the archetypes of naïve and primitive painting and transcend the restrictive magico-religious and exotic vision associated with Haitian art. With nearly 150 works, Hyppolite’s Kiss or the Art of Haiti presents art free of any rigid framework, readily mingling poetry, magic, religion and political commitment thorough a great variety of forms, blurring the boundary between art and the street, between a world of forms and everyday life.

Constructed around a core of contemporary works, some produced specifically for the event, it presents the highlights of Haitian art history in a non chronological approach and takes a fresh look at an art form insufficiently known in France. Without ignoring the syncretic influences of Chris- tian, Masonic or voodoo symbols on the collective imagination, the exhibition explores the extraordinary vitality of art in which everything is metamorphosed in all circumstances and the “real country” coexists strangely with a “dream land”.

Since the late 20th century, the teeming conglomeration of Port-au-Prince and the effervescence rippling through Haitian society have fostered a contemporary aesthetic expressed in forms including: painting, graphic art, installations, videos and sculpture using recycled materials.

In seven sections, including a Duo with Jean-Michel Basquiat and Hervé Télémaque, the exhibition leaves plenty of space for contemporary artists of all generations living in Haiti (Mario Benjamin, Sébastien Jean, André Eu- gène, Frantz Jacques called Guyodo, Celeur Jean-Hérard, Dubréus Lhérisson, Patrick Vilaire, Barbara Prézeau, Pascale Monnin…), in France (Hervé Télémaque, Elodie Barthélemy), in Germany (Jean-Ulrick Désert), in Fin- land (Sasha Huber), the United States (Edouard Duval Carrié, Vladimir Cybil Charlier), or Canada (Marie-Hélène Cauvin, Manuel Mathieu).

'Untitled'. Manuel Mathieu. 36" x 30" Photo courtesy: Manuel Mathieu

‘Untitled’. Manuel Mathieu. 36″ x 30″ Photo courtesy: Manuel Mathieu

Visitors to the Grand Palais are greeted by a monumental sculpture by Edouard Duval Carrié, and accompanied in the stairwell by a light and sound installation by Mario Benjamin.

After Haiti gained its independence in the early 19th century, art academies were founded by the leaders of the world’s first black republic. Most were directed by European painters and developed the art of portraiture (Colbert Lochard, Séjour Legros, Edouard Goldman), mostly portraying the men and women in power faced with the need to create an historical identity. This tradition of official portraiture was later interpreted in a satirical manner to comment on Haiti’s political turmoil.

The Art Centre founded in Port au Prince in 1944 became a rallying point for Haitian artists. With their powerfully evocative work, popular artists made their mark on the city and won recognition of their particular sensibility (Hec- tor Hyppolite, Philomé Obin, Préfète Duffaut, Wilson Bigaud, Robert Saint-Brice…).

In a dissident vein, a new creative burst came in the 1950s with the opening of the Centre of the Plastic Arts and the Brochette gallery. Artists such as Lucien Price, Max Pinchinat and Roland Dorcély explored abstraction and surrealism in search of new paradigms in a time of constant interaction with American and European artists and intellectuals.

Dubreus Lherisson, Untitled, Port-au-Prince, collection Reynald Lally. Photo credit: Josué Azo

Dubreus Lherisson, Untitled, Port-au-Prince, collection Reynald Lally. Photo credit: Josué Azo

With over 60 artists and nearly 180 works from public or private collections in Haiti (Musée du Panthéon national haïtien, Musée d’art haïtien du Collège Saint-Pierre, Bibliothèque des Pères du Saint-Esprit, Loge L’Haïtienne du Cap-Haïtien, Fondation FPVPOCH / Marianne Lehmann, Fondation Culture Création), France (Château de Versailles, Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Musée d’art contemporain de Marseille), and the USA (Milwaukee Art Museum), the exhibition presents art free of any rigid framework, readily mingling poetry, magic, religion and political commitment.

Many of these extraordinarily rich works thrown up by Haiti’s agitated history – some were restored after the earthquake in January 2010 – are presented in France for the first time.

Curators: Régine Cuzin (freelance curator, founder of the association OCEA, Paris) and Mireille Pérodin Jérôme (director of the Ateliers Jérôme, Port-au-Prince). This exhibition is organized by the Reunion des Musées Nationaux-Grand Palais.

Ticket Prices
Standard: 12 €
Concession : 9 €
Clan : 33 € (4 people including 2 people between 16 and 25 years old)

For more information on the exhibition ‘Haiti’, visit The Grand Palais Galerie Nationale.

ARC Magazine
ARC Magazine

ARC Inc. is a non-profit print and online publication and social platform launched in 2011. It seeks to fill a certain void by offering a critical space for contemporary artists to present their work while fostering and developing critical dialogues and opportunities for crucial points of exchange. ARC is an online and social space of interaction with a developed methodology of sharing information about contemporary practices, exhibitions, partnerships, and opportunities occurring in the Caribbean region and throughout its diasporas.