Popular traditions and primitive rituals are at the heart of Charles Fréger’s creations. His work explores the figure of the ‘wild man’ from an anthropological perspective. Around the world, from Finland to Greece, Germany and Bulgaria, in a first series of photographs entitled Wilder Mann. “Beyond picturesque carnival characters and folklore, I wanted to capture the community of ‘wild men’” (Charles Fréger). For this first exhibition, the Foundation introduced the photographer to audiences in Berne in 2012 (at its artistic space, TH13) and then to New York in 2013 (at The Gallery at Hermès). Wilder Mann is also the subject of a book published by Thames & Hudson.
The second leg of the artist’s research took him to Japan. Dressed in costumes made of straw or coloured paper, their faces hidden by masks depicting animals, monsters or flowers, some bearing giant wings. Throughout the spring and winter, Charles Fréger trawled all four corners of Japan, taking photographs of yokaï (spectres) and oni (monsters). The result is a prolific and bestiary series of portraits. Supporting the artist more closely than ever, the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès sponsored the photographer’s travels and presented the exhibition at Le Forum in Tokyo, before funding the artist’s appearance at the Rencontres d’Arles. A book has been published by Actes Sud to accompany these exhibitions.
For Cimarron, the third part of the artist’s work, the focus shifted to afro-Caribbean and afro-American cultures. Part-interbreeding, part-culture clash. A journey through 14 countries. The Fondation d’entreprise Hermès once more faithfully supports Charles Fréger on this latest adventure, soon to be showcased in a new book.