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Hervé Télémaque: 'A Hopscotch of the Mind' review

Art Serpentine Gallery , Hyde Park Until Sunday January 30 2022 Free
3 out of 5 stars
Hervé Télémaque, Convergence, 1966, Photograph: Musée d'art moderne et contemporain de Saint-Etienne Métropole / Cyrille Cauvet © Hervé Télémaque, ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2021.
Hervé Télémaque, Convergence, 1966, Photograph: Musée d'art moderne et contemporain de Saint-Etienne Métropole / Cyrille Cauvet © Hervé Télémaque, ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2021.

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Hervé Télémaque saw the political potential of Pop, and pushed it to bursting. Born and raised in Haiti, Télélmaque spent a few years immersed in the abstract expressionism of New York before settling in Paris in the early 1960s. There, he set about building a visual language that would fuse pop aesthetics, found imagery and abstraction, all with a singularly political purpose. 

The 1960s paintings here are angry, intense, colourful things. He takes aim at racist tropes in French culture, pictures of police brutality and military imagery. It’s brutal, impactful stuff, like a vicious mix of Tintin, Lichtenstein and radical politics. The self-portrait, playing on comic book depictions of black people, is the perfect distillation of all those ideas.

Earlier works are rougher and harsher, full of angry brushstrokes and graffiti-like marks, a sort of proto-Basquiat.

The later paintings are a little too bloated and aimless to have anything like the same impact. They’re not as clear in their intentions or targets, and sort of stumble as a result. It’s the 1950s and ’60s works that really standout. Radical, personal, passionate, and with a defined aesthetic. Pop perfection.

Details

Venue name: Serpentine Gallery
Venue website: www.serpentinegallery.org
Venue phone: 020 7402 6075
Address: Kensington Gardens
London
W2 3XA
Transport: Tube: Lancaster Gate/Knightsbridge/South Kensington
Price: Free

Dates And Times

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