Thursday, 5 May 2011
Paris pt 2: African Voodoo at Fondation Cartier
On the recommendation of another friend we visited the Cartier Foundation. "Even if it's closed you can just look at the architecture. And indeed I loved the Jean Nouvel designed indoor-outdoor trickery of it - and the beautiful 'wild' garden - just the sort of planting I love (by Lothar Baumgarten I learned).
As it happened though the space was very much open and occupied by one of the most intriguing and brilliant exhibitions I've seen in a while. Vodun: African Voodoo showcases the collection of the late French self taught Primitive art connoisseur Jaques Kerchache, who seems like a complete legend to be honest. He was one of the first people to see so-called 'primitive' work as art in its own right, rather than a simple artefact. This exhibition, organised by the Foundation with Mr Kerchache's wife for the tenth anniversary of his death, features many work from his collection of so-called Bocio sculptures - man made objects that "emanate qualities of tension and foreboding...used for aggressive and protective ends to effect various changes in life."
The sculptures, made of diverse materials including animal and human parts, blood, keys, padlocks, hair, beads, shells and plants, are designed specifically for their bearer with a diviner, their ingredients a closely guarded secret. The structure of them is symbolic, so that for instance the wrapping of a figure in twine can be associated with feelings of anger and imprisonment. A truly fascinating show and well worth seeing if in Paris.
The set design is beautiful as well, courtesy of Enzo Mari.
On at the Fondation Cartier until 25 September. Photos from me, Dezain, Domus and the Fondation Cartier.