Georges Adéagbo - Kauno Bienalė

Georges Adéagbo


Georges Adéagbo (b. 1942 in Cotonou, Benin, then Dahomey) is a conceptual artist who has been developing his own style of using found objects since the early 1970s in Cotonou, Benin. When out on walks he gathers items that have been lost or thrown away, and incorporates them into his installations. Adéagbo enriches his palette with acquired objects and works he has commissioned himself – sculptures, masks, pictures and text panels. As a result, episodes from his personal past interface with unusual interpretations of so-called objective historical scholarship, mainstream pop culture is juxtaposed with canonized high culture, and the banal confronts the profound in his works. Adéagbo avoids overly obvious interpretations of his work: ambiguity and entrapment are integral to his strategy of provocation.

The artist also deliberately avoids those elements and facets expected of “African” artists – in some cases even presenting these expectations in a satirical light.  Adéagbo’s works key into the process of coming to terms with the colonial era, explore the imperialistic claims of Western powers in mainland Africa, and pose questions about traces of colonialism still visible in European cities. From his perspective as an African ethnologist, Adéagbo studies the customs of each place at which he exhibits, and casts these as glaring clichés– a parallel to the way his own culture is often misrepresented.

Adéagbo’s works can be found in important collections, for example: Centre Pompidou-Paris, Museum Ludwig Cologne, Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, Toyota City Museum, The Nasjonal Museum Oslo, KIASMA Helsinki, Moderna Museum Stockholm and the Contemporary Art Collection of the Federal Republic of Germany.