Something Curated | Interview: Surinamese-Dutch artist Remy Jungerman reframes minimalism through a maroon lens
From 7 April–15 May 2021, New York’s Fridman Gallery is set to present the first major solo exhibition in the US of Remy Jungerman, whose works explore the intersection of pattern and symbol in Surinamese-Maroon culture, the larger African Diaspora, Jazz, and 20th Century Modernism. Entitled Brilliant Corners, the exhibition deals with the intersecting histories of colonisation and migration, connecting the visual languages of minimalism and conceptualism with materials drawn from Suriname’s colonial past and complicated present. Jungerman, who represented The Netherlands at the 2019 Venice Biennale and has previously exhibited his work at the Stedelijk Museum, Havana Biennial, and the Brooklyn Museum, has created an entirely new body of work for the show, featuring wall-based panels and sculptural assemblages of textiles and clay. To learn more about the artist’s practice, the upcoming show at Fridman Gallery, and what he has planned next, Something Curated spoke with Jungerman.
ABOUT Remy Jungerman
Born in 1959 in Moengo, Suriname
Lives and works in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Remy Jungerman attended the Academy for Higher Arts and Cultural Studies in Paramaribo, Suriname, before moving to Amsterdam where he studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy. In his work, Jungerman explores the intersection of pattern and symbol in Surinamese Maroon culture, the larger African Diaspora, and 20th Century “Modernism.” In bringing seemingly disparate visual languages into conversation, Jungerman’s work challenges the established art historical canon. As art and culture critic Greg Tate has remarked “Jungerman’s work leaps boldly and adroitly into the epistemological gap between culturally confident Maroon self-knowledge and the Dutch learning curve around all things Jungerman, Afropean and Eurocentric.”
Born and raised in Suriname, he is a descendant, on his mother side, of the Surinamese Maroons who escaped enslavement on Dutch plantations to establish self-governed communities in the Surinamese rain forest. Within their rich culture, many West-African influences are preserved including the prominent use of abstract geometrical patterns. Placing fragments of Maroon textiles, as well other materials found in the African diaspora such as the kaolin clay used in many African religious traditions or the nails featured in West African Nkisi Nkondi power sculpture, in direct contact with materials and imagery drawn from more “established” art traditions, Jungerman presents a peripheral vision that can enrich and inform our perspective on art history.