A great connoisseur of African art, Jacques Kerchache traveled to Benin in the 1960s where he first discovered Vodun art, the source of Vodun itself. He met its priests, was initiated into its rituals and was struck by the astonishing forms invented by its sculptors.
Jacques made it his mission to elevate Vodun art, to situate it among the greatest of human creations. He was determined not to let humanity’s deepest secrets remain in the dark.
During his visits to the Gulf of Benin, Jacques built up an unprecedented collection—a secret passion that consumed him all his life. The Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain is now unveiling this collection in accordance with the wishes expressed by Jacques before he passed away ten years ago, and as a token of the strong friendship that developed over the years.
We are grateful to everyone who contributed to the creation of the exhibition and this book, to Enzo Mari who produced the scenography with a masterful hand, to Yuji Ono who photographed the sculptures, to Marc Augé, Gabin Djimassé, Suzanne Preston Blier and Patrick Vilaire who wrote about them, to Pierre Amrouche who advised us and to the collectors, Jacques’ ever faithful friends whose generosity gave us the opportunity to revive and share in the spirit of Vodun as Jacques Kerchache understood it.
Anna Douaoui and Hervé Chandès, March 2011