Jacques Kerchache, portraits croisés

On the occasion of the third anniversary of the opening of the rooms at the Louvre devoted to the arts of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas, the Musée du quai Branly and Gallimard have published Jacques Kerchache, portraits croisés. Compiled from a series of interviews with his close friends and relations and with creators and public figures with whom he worked (Jean-Jacques Aillagon, Jacques Friedmann, Anne Kerchache, Alain Kirili, Jean-Pierre Lang, Jean de Loisy, Stéphane Martin, Alain de Monbrison, Jean Nouvel, Orlan, Jean-Charles Pigeau, Jean-François Prat, Michel Propper, Paul Rebeyrolle, Sam Szafran, and Germain Viatte), the work is neither an exhaustive biography nor a critical essay, but rather an invitation to discover, an act of memory and a testimony of respect.

In a way, the accounts brought together here are Jacques Kerchache's oral tradition, handed down by those who knew him. A tradition fashioned from journeys to the ends of the earth, cabinets of curiosities, nights spent contemplating works of art, comparing them, distinguishing them and getting close to them. It is a tradition that is equally fashioned by exhibitions organised hurriedly and passionately, by albums and catalogues read fervently, by works tracked down over many years and by binding friendships, quarrels, enmities and betrayals.

The exhibition provides a glimpse into parts of his collection, selected with the generous help of Anne Kerchache.

The work seeks to reveal. We discovery of a man through his memoirs, by retracing his expedition routes, by contemplating images of his travels (Africa, Asia, and the Americas), by understanding his encounters, friendships and battles (an anthology of his manifesto texts) and by contemplating the exhibitions he organised ('Les Taïnos', 'Picasso-Afrique' and many others). We discovery an adventure, that of the creation of the rooms at the Louvre devoted to the arts of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas, and of the creation of the musée du quai Branly, the building of which, designed by Jean Nouvel, will open in early 2006. We discover a truly remarkable collection of tribal arts, of which many items are reproduced for the first time. We discover a unique world, an environment never before photographed, where works of art stand side by side with curios in the style of a true 'Room of Wonders'.

Interviews, texts and images were compiled by Martin Béthenod, publisher (former Director of Editions du Centre Georges Pompidou) and Journalist (Connaissance des Arts, and Vogue), Director of Plastic Arts at the Ministry of Culture and Communication since 1st January 2003.

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