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 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 discovery, an act of memory, as well as 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 - fashioned also from exhibitions mounted with all the urgency of passion, of albums and catalogues flipped through in a fever, of  works taking years to track down. and from binding friendships, quarrels, hatreds, and betrayals.

A look at his collection, or at least some parts of it, selected with the generous help of Anne Kerchache.

The work seeks to reveal. Discovery of a man through his memories, the traces of his expeditions, images of his travels (Africa, Asia, and the Americas), of his encounters, friendships and battles (an anthology of his manifesto texts), of exhibitions he mounted ('Les Taïnos', 'Picasso-Afrique' and many others). Discovery of 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 Musée du quai Branly, whose building, designed by Jean Nouvel, was to open in early 2006. Discovery of a truly remarkable collection of tribal arts, many items from which are reproduced for the first time. Discovery of a unique world, his house, never before photographed, where works of art stand side by side with curios in true 'Room of Wonders' style.

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 1 January 2003.

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