I have gods staying over

At first glance, ‘primitive art’ seems a justifiable term for something produced by cultures that perpetuate without having bothered to invent the wheel. Who’s rut is dictated by animism and lore; who live solely from what nature provides. It sounds primitive.

Any decent art history book, however, should reveal that naturalistic/realistic art was already present in these cultures way before the ‘civilized’ Western world took notion of the Greeks.

African abstract art stems from repetitiveness, exactly like modern artists would centuries later depart from classic conventions and (re-)invent modernist art forms. It’s a case of Cubism avant la lettre, really. Had Cézanne, Braque, Picasso been Africans, the Western world would still be stuck in the Renaissance...

By doing the portraits of these African gods and spirits, learning their rich and magical history, I’ve come to appreciate their unique beauty. Many look real freaky, scary, seriously ill, or at least strange, but remember that a stranger is only a friend you haven’t yet met.

Some are staying over at my place now. Beats a napping buddha.

Merx, Amsterdam 2007


Boasting well over 200 ethnographic objects in full color prints, this book is merely an introduction to one of the greatest tribal art collections in the world.

Assigned to catalogue the overwhelming accumulation of authentic ritual masks, sculptures, weaponry, musical instruments, textiles, utensils, ancient beads, pottery, wooden containers, locks and so on, Merx has photographed over 3,000 artifacts. A generous number was selected for this volume: a first revealing peek into a truly unique collection, containing several rare and important pieces hardly if ever found in other catalogia or even museums.

Although various gems from the Aussen collection have already featured in expositions over the past decades, this is the first time the public will be able to fathom the actual proportions of the treasure rooms they came from.

All pictures in this book were made under close eye of Aussen to ensure they would bring out the tribal features uniquely possessed by each subject distinct as possible.

Aussen Tribal Art Collection offers a spectacular journey for anyone with an interest in ethnography.”

Included tribes:

Asante, Baga, Bambara/Bamana, Ciwara, Bozo,Marca, Baoule, Benin, Chokwe, Dan, Dogon, Fon, Holo, Ituri, Kasai, Kuba, Kwese, Lega, Luba, Makonde, Marca, Mende, Pende, Senoufo, Songye, Suku, Yaka, Yombe, Yoruba, Zaramo...