A new 900 sq. m contemporary art gallery backed by the French entrepreneur Bernard Hayot, who runs a car retail and rental empire, opened earlier this week (24 January) on the Caribbean island of Martinique. The inaugural exhibition, organised by curators at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, features 53 works by the Haiti-born artist Hervé Télémaque (until 17 April).
The new gallery, which comprises three separate spaces including a “nave” for monumental works, was designed by the Paris-based architects Reichen et Robert & Associés. It forms part of the Habitation Clément complex, home to the Fondation Clément (an arts and heritage organisation established 25 years ago on the island by Hayot’s company, Groupe Bernard Hayot, which also operates hypermarkets in Martinique, Guadeloupe and the Dominican Republic).
Since 2005, the businessman has installed and shown works by more than 160 artists, including the French-born practitioners Bernar Venet and Thierry Alet in the grounds of the Habitation Clément, a former rum distillery. The next exhibition in the new building will focus on the local artist Ernest Breleur.
Works on show in the Télémaque exhibition include Le Silence règne à Saint-Marc (Haïti, 1975). The show’s curator, Christian Briend of the Centre Pompidou, says in a statement that this is the “most ambitious exhibition ever held in this region dedicated to the Haitian artist.”
Martinique is governed as an official “overseas department” of France, and is represented in the National Assembly and Senate in Paris.