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Who would take up defense and come defend us, if we had not taken up defense and defend ourselves”..! - Georges Adéagbo

Galleries Lumen Travo Gallery

Lijnbaansgracht 314
1017 WZ Amsterdam
info@lumentravo.nl
+31 (0)20 6270883

Open Wed - Sat / 13-18 hrs

Exhibition 28 May — 16 Jul

Opening 28 May, 17-19 hrs

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MUSEUM DE LAKENHAL Installation View photo Marc de Haan

Georges Adéagbo (born 1942 in Cotonou, lives in Cotonou) has been acclaimed as one of West Africa’s foremost artists ever since his contribution to the documenta in 2002 - “The explorer and explorers confronting the history of exploration”. Following his “discovery” in 1993 by a French art agent, this autodidact’s installations have been exhibited in Europe, the two Americas, and even Japan, but remained virtually unknown in West Africa itself. His commissioned works tackle such subjects as cannibalism, slavery, socialism, religion, war, art, or mostly male historical personages. He builds his installations up from artefacts, objets trouvés from everyday cultures, as well as from paintings and sculptures that he orders from the sign-maker Esprit or from wood carvers. These multi-part assemblages are then further structured by means of handwritten notes, and the topics he has worked on in Cotonou are varied at the exhibition space by adding locally found objects, tales and images, which in some cases he transports back home and has translated into other media. In this way the artist-author commutes back and forth between the continents with his exhibits before assigning them a place within the aesthetic space of an installation – one that is no more definitive than his temporary, local interpretation of the subject matter. This elaborate procedure repeats the historic circulation of peoples, objects, signs, images, media, and languages, and traverses the boundaries between continents, epochs, cultures, classes, generations, arts, and genres with a breathtaking virtuosity whose seeming effortlessness and playful grace reminds us of the Mannerist ideal of the sprezzatura.

Georges Adéagbo was born in 1942 in Cotonou (Benin). He lives and works in Cotonou and Hamburg.

After studying law in Abidjan (Ivory Coast) and Rouen (France), Adéagbo returned to Benin in the end of the 60s. By the time he was discovered in 1993 by a European curator by accident, he made daily complex installations in his yard without calling himself an artist. In 1994 he was invited to his first exhibition. From then on he implements his site-specific installations with a team of craftsmen in Benin. In 1999 he participated in the Venice Biennale and was the first artist from Africa to be given an award for his installation at the Campo Arsenale. Since at least 2002, when he presented an In-Situ-Installation as part of the documenta 11, curated by Okwui Enwezor in Kassel, Adéagbo has become one of the most renowned artists of Africa. The work from Kassel went later in modified form into the collection of the Museum Ludwig in Cologne.

His works can be found in other major collections, i.e. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Toyota City Museum and KIASMA Helsinki.
The exhibitions are supported and co-curated by Stephan Köhler (Cultural Forum South-North Hamburg-Cotonou).

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