Skip to content

Aspen Art Museum


Hervé Télémaque: A Hopscotch of the Mind

Nov 4, 2022-Mar 26, 2023

From the late 1950s until the present moment, Hervé Télémaque (1937-2022) has created an expansive body of work with a playful visual vocabulary, featuring abstract gestures, cartoon-like imagery, and mixed media compositions. Through paintings, drawings, collages, objects, and assemblages, he brought 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 drew 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 other artists. A reaction against the dominant trend towards Abstract art and the developing movement of Pop art in North America, Télémaque’s Narrative Figuration often resulted in works with a Pop sensibility that incorporated consumer objects and signs. The artist then inflected 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. 

A vehement commitment to highlighting the histories and contemporary resonances of racism, imperialism, and colonialism remained a constant throughout his career, with works that intimate the insidious ways that these structures continue to permeate our everyday lives. In later works, Télémaque referred more directly to his Haitian heritage and experience as part of the Caribbean diaspora.

This exhibition brings together works made from the late 1950s until the present day, highlighting the enduring themes of the artist’s work through his multifaceted practice. Rather than taking a chronological approach, A Hopscotch of the Mind proposes a non-linear exploration of Télémaque’s visual vocabulary, encouraging viewers to jump between media and periods, forming their own associations between the disparate fragments of his idiosyncratic narration.

Hervé Télémaque: A Hopscotch of the Mind is the first solo exhibition of Télémaque’s work in a US museum. This exhibition was presented at the Serpentine Gallery October 7, 2021 to January 30, 2022.

This exhibition is organized by Serpentine, by Joseph Constable, former Associate Exhibitions Curator, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director. In keeping with the Museum’s artist-centered approach, the presentation at Aspen Art Museum is curated by Joseph Constable, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and artist Helen Marten, who has reconceptualized the staging of the exhibition. Supplementary materials produced in collaboration with the Aspen Art Museum team.

A catalogue published on the occasion of the exhibition includes essays and interviews by Hervé Télémaque and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Helen Marten, Lyonel Trouillot, C.C. McKee, Françoise Vergès, and Sarah Wilson.

Leadership support of Hervé Télémaque: A Hopscotch of the Mind is provided by Susan and Larry Marx.

Exhibition Guide

Hervé Télémaque: A Hopscotch of the Mind

AAM exhibitions are made possible by the Marx Exhibition Fund. General exhibition support is provided by the Toby Devan Lewis Visiting Artist Fund. Additional support is provided by the AAM National Council.

Leadership support of Hervé Télémaque: A Hopscotch of the Mind is provided by Susan and Larry Marx.