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Charles Fréger at The Gallery at Hermès

Wilder Mann

Wilder Mann is the first of two exhibitions at The Gallery at Hermès exploring the theme of transformation through the lenses of two French photographers. Charles Fréger’s series is dedicated to finding the traditional still celebrating the traditional ‘wild man’ in European communities today.

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Charles Fréger at The Gallery at Hermès
© Charles Fréger

From Finland to Greece, Germany and Bulgaria, the ‘wild man’ is a traditional figure still honoured at rites celebrating the changing seasons, fertility, life or death. Communities across Europe have their own, distinctive costumes, combining local furs, vegetation and other attributes. In 2010 and 2011, Charles Fréger set about photographing a catalogue of these figures in eighteen different European countries. The Wilder Mann series is the result.

Fréger – a graduate of the Beaux-Arts (Rouen) and an experienced photographer of classical, often uniformed, group portraits – takes an anthropological approach to the continuing tradition of the Wild Man in central Europe. The series explores the costumes’ metamorphic qualities and mythological aspect, highlighting their role in primitive rituals closely connected to the landscape.  

Exhibition curator Cory Jacobs says that the series explores man’s "desire to be both a unique individual - in all his glory - and part of a group, a tribe."

Charles Fréger’s work has been widely exhibited in Europe, notably at Hermès’s TH13 gallery in Bern. The Gallery at Hermès is his first US exhibition, taking a fresh look at the series, with a new selection of images including large-scale prints and portfolio pictures. The event is accompanied by a parallel show at the Yossi Milo Galery, in Chelsea. A book of the Wilder Mann series is published by Thames & Hudson. 

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The Gallery at Hermès, New York, USA 691 Madison Avenue, New York

Free admission: from 12/04/2013 to 08/06/2013


Curator: Cory Jacobs