Galerie Max Hetzler presents You know nothing Raymond, a homage to the late French artist Raymond Hains by Jérémy Demester.
Raymond Hains became known in the late 1940s working with torn posters and board fences found on the street. Since the beginning of his career, the artist was close to and often associated with Nouveau Réalisme. Nevertheless Hains’ work remained unclassifiable; often playing with verbal and visual associations, referring to history while looking way ahead to the future. In this way, Raymond Hains’ work maintained its contemporary relevance for decades.
The exhibition You know nothing Raymond is a view on Raymond Hains’ work by Jérémy Demester, a young French artist. It is a homage from one artist to another, a conversation between the two artists, a dialogue between artworks that span over half a century. Demester chose Hains’ works with a painter’s sensibility rather than through a curator’s eye. It is a tribute paid to the achieved oeuvre. The title of the exhibition, chosen by Demester, refers to the world of old philosophers, in which admitting that one knows nothing was a sign of the highest virtue.
Raymond Hains looked in the streets for torn posters, for the somehow damaged, distorted information. For him, the artworks have been there before he came along, without being noticed by anybody. Demester responds by taking the whole process into his own hands. He creates a painting and then disrupts the information it carries with a high-pressure cleaner, a method that results in the creation of a similar visual experience to that of the torn posters.
Hains’ deeply rooted interest for the world to be seen in an abstracted or distorted manner which fundamentally defines his visual experimentations, can be traced in the exhibition in several works (in the torn posters as well as the distorted images). The artist’s favourite metaphor of an artwork as an ongoing construction site, materialised in his board fences, is represented by one of his more recent works from this series, a fence made of skis.
Constantly imagining new forms and media during his career, Raymond Hains’ oeuvre always stimulates the viewer’s eyes, experience, memory and imagination.
Raymond Hains (1926-2005) participated in major international exhibitions such as The Art of Assemblage (MoMA, New York, 1961), Paris-Paris (Centre Pompidou, Paris, 1982), documenta IV (Kassel, 1968), documenta X (Kassel, 1997) and most recently The Affichistes, Poetry of the Metropolis (Museum Tinguely Basel and Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, 2014-2015) as well as Viva Arte Viva (57th Venice Biennale, 2017).
His first survey exhibition in a public institution took place 1976 in Paris. Between 2000 and 2002, retrospective exhibitions have been organized at Centre Pompidou (Paris), MACBA (Barcelona), Foundation Serralves (Porto) and Moore College of Art (Philadelphia). His work can be found in the collections of important museums, among them the Musée national d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou (Paris), MoMA (New York,) Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Fondation Cartier (Paris), Modern Art Museum of Forth Worth (Texas), Sprengel Museum (Hanover), Foundation Serralves (Porto), Berardo Museum (Lisbon), MACBA (Barcelona), MuMOK (Vienna) and Des Moines Art Center (Iowa), among others.