Marguerite Humeau

Marguerite Humeau, ECSTASIES, installation view, Kunstverein in Hamburg, 2019, Photo: Julia Andreone

Marguerite Humeau


The exhibition ECSTASIES by Marguerite Humeau (b. 1986, Cholet, France) shows an immersive installation of sculpture, sound and drawing. Humeau’s work centers on the origins of humankind. She prefaces each project with a period of intense investigation in which she engages with historians, anthropologists, paleontologists, zoologists, explorers, linguists, and engineers. Through her interdisciplinary, speculative inquiry, Humeau enriches her own thinking as an artist, and refashions historical quests in ways that reflect our present technological age.

For ECSTASIES, Humeau studies the origins of Venus figurines, prehistoric female goddess statuettes found throughout the world. The artist’s research expands on the idea that early modern humans may have ingested animal brains for their psychoactive effects. In this theory, Venus figurines functioned as recipes, marking out an anatomical guide for shamans and those seeking spiritual ecstasy through altered consciousness. In this exhibition, Humeau attempts to reenact a speculated scene from 150,000 years ago when a group of early female humans first encounters these psychoactive ingredients, allowing for the first time in the history of humankind their brain to quit its default mode and to travel to the unknown. The spectacular effects of this event might have resulted in a new neuronal organization, involving a new social structure completely different from other primates. Ten digitally rendered bronze and stone sculptures beckon the viewer to discover the depths and layers of their consciousness.


This exhibition is a joint project with New Museum, New York, and Museion, Bolzano, where it will travel in October 2019.

The exhibition is made possible by the friendly support of Ministry of Culture and Media of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Bureau des arts plastiques of the Institut français, the French Ministry of Culture and the Rudolf Augstein Stiftung.