L’Afrique des Colliers: Marie-José Crespin

7 Jun 2018 - 4 Nov 2018

Glass beads from Arabia or Murano, stone beads from the Neolithic age, corals, shells, and vertebrae from a snake’s backbone—the materials Marie-José Crespin uses to make her magnificent necklaces are so diverse, so fundamentally different and yet similar. On the one hand, these colliers (necklaces) are pieces of jewelry. Yet they can also be seen as little research projects, each in its own right. They combine products of living and inanimate nature with the sometimes wondrous, sometimes terrible history of trade relations that have shaped the African continent for centuries.

Marie-José Crespin was born in Benin and now lives on the Island of Goree, a central hub of the transatlantic slave trade. She comes from an African-French family of judges and lawyers and recently served as a constitutional judge at the Conseil Constitutionnel, the Supreme Court of Senegal. Crespin has been making colliers since her youth.

The Johann Jacobs Museum will be showing a selection of these unusual pieces in cooperation with Raw Material Company (Dakar).



  • 7 Jun 2018
    19:00 Uhr
  • 8 Jun 2018 7:00 pm
    Artist Talk
    A conversation about Crespin’s career as a lawyer, her cultural activities in Senegal and the art of collier necklace-making. (FR/GE)
  • 10 Jun 2018 3:00 pm
    Artist Talk
    With Romuald Hazoumè
    Conversation on the legacy and survival of colonial structures, but also Africa’s contemporary possibilities and the aesthetic power of “making.” (EN)
  • 3 Jul 2018 7:00 pm
    Thematic Tour
    With Roger M. Buergel
    Where do the beads lead us, when we trace them back to their place of origin? (GE)
  • 15 Jul 2018 3:00 pm
    Theme Talk
    Global Art History and the Challenge of Taste
    Chika Okeke-Agulu in conversation with Roger M. Buergel about the comparability of Persian manuscripts, Mauritanian beads, Japanese lacquerware, Peruvian textiles, German woodcuts and Swiss embroidery (EN)
  • 26 Aug 2018 3:00 pm
    With Kati Torda
    Kati Torda shares her knowledge about beads and their function in the culture of Ghana (EN)
  • 1 Sep 2018 7:00 pm
    Sana Khanazi is a guest at the Johann Jacobs Museum for the longest night of Zurich's museums. Traditional sounds from Burkina Faso are translated into a new, contemporary musical style.
  • 9 Oct 2018 7:00 pm
    Theme Night
    Passion Aissa Dione by Abdoulaye Konaté
    Christina Wild talks about Abdoulaye Konaté's view of African culture. (GE)
  • 23 Oct 2018 7:00 pm
    Theme Night
    With Christina Wild
    Flamingo feathers and ivory beads will guide this talk to investigate animals and their migrations as artistic and historical actors. (GE)
  • Events are included in the general museum admission ticket if not otherwise stated.