Primitive Cabaret, a spiritual voodoo confrontation

From 08 to 16 March 2013


Daring, imaginative, dreamlike, spectacular! Five contemporary artists – painters and draughtsmen – invite themselves to “Primitive Cabaret”, a dialogue between artworks and voodoo fetishes, mostly from the Fon people in Benin. These come from a fist-rate collection proposed by Mr. Claude Rouyer, a long-time collector of African and contemporary art (Michel Macréau, Anselme Boix-Vives...). In all freedom, the artists will create connections between the shapes and meanings of their universe and those of the collection.
Practiced by millions of people worldwide, voodoo thrives in Africa and America. The fetishes required for the cult have stimulated a wealth of formal creativity. These inhabited, real-life objects, endowed with healing, protective or intercession powers, have fascinated many contemporary artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat. We are reminded of how, in the early twentieth century, “Negro Art” nourished the artistic production of Derain, Picasso and others. Today, a multitude of artists draw their inspiration from the universe of voodoo as they compare and share cultures. That Africa may be a dreamed, invented, idealised land. Thus, Andrew Gilbert re-interprets British colonial history and Helmut Rieger creates strong bonds with African art in his hunting scenes; or it could be a real Africa, as the one experienced by Omar Ba and Christine Sefolosha. However, beyond what is being represented, a kind of incantatory force radiates from these drawings and paintings.
The exhibition therefore puts into perspective the relationship between these artists and voodoo, and more generally African art. Each artist will be allotted a space inside the gallery, where he / she can enter into a dialogue with the fetishes. Andrew Gilbert, Omar Ba and Christine Sefolosha took up the challenge and created specific artworks for this exhibition. In other cases, as for Michel Macréau and Helmut Rieger, formal affinities between the artworks will be elaborated through the setting. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue with a text by Leanne Sacramone from the Fondation Cartier, who curated the exhibition “Vaudou” in 2011.

Artists exhibited:

Omar Ba (born in 1977 in Senegal). Lives in Geneva. Collaboration with Anne de Villepoix gallery

Andrew Gilbert (born in 1980 in Edinburgh). Lives in Berlin

Michel Macréau (born in 1935 in Paris – died 1995)

Christine Sefolosha (born in 1955 in Switzerland). Lives in Montreux

Helmut Rieger (born 1931 in Silesia). Lives in Munich

Watch the movie about the exhibition