"In fact, it must be understood that, before these objects were sacralised, before their lives within society, everything happened between artists. So the only thing where I can't go wrong when I speak about sculpture is when I speak about the artists. There is no translation needed here, when you hold this sculpture you are closest to what the artist wanted, there is no intermediary" (Kerchache in Jean-François Roudat, Jacques Kerchache: Portrait, 2003). In this work, which André Schoeller once owned, the striking brilliance of the artist and his interpretation of the human figure is equally apparent. Its compelling monumentality arises from the perfect conjunction between the expanse of its forms and the intensity of its expression. Amplifying the remarkable dynamics of the volumes, playing on successive rhythms and emphasising breaking points, the sides grow hollow and the shoulders move forward to set the movement of the arms free. The contrast between the vast openwork framing of the ear ornaments and the face with its tight features magnifies the intensity of the expression. The face is constructed across tension lines that meet to form the median crest where the nose and the half-opened mouth are discreetly marked; with round eyes opening out on either side of the recessed face. The tight rhythm of the scarification pattern hatched across the main outlines adds the remarkable aesthetic vitality, and reminds us of its use to its owner: diviner, healer or rainmaker.
Although its design harks to the vocabulary which founded Cubism, and as a paradigm of plastic movement for modern artists, this work stands out first and foremost for the boldness of its artistic vision and ingenuity of form that Mumuye artists placed at the heart of their creations.
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