Georges Adéagbo

Georges Adéagbo
Georges Adéagbo The Becoming of the Human Being, Talking about the Destiny of the Human Being, and Showing the Destiny of the Human Being. The King of England and the Queen of England. (Le devenir de l’être humain, parlant du destin de l’être humain, et faisant voir le destin de l’être humain. Le roi d’Angleterre et la reine d’Angleterre)

Georges Adéagbo’s complex installations have been described as an ‘archaeology of knowledge’. Tracing particular notions, or relationships, through found objects, records, posters, books and clothes, shown alongside specially-commissioned paintings and sculptures by local Beninese artisans, Adéagbo communicates his own trajectory through culture and history by mixing his personal stories and those of friends and relatives with major events in world politics and famous personalities.

In 1999, Adéagbo created The Story of the Lion in Venice – an installation in front of the entrance to the Arsenale, which was the gateway to the Mediterranean and Northern Africa. He created narrations concerning domination through military power and trade, around and in front of the four Lion statues that the Serrenissima had confiscated. The event was produced by jointadventures as an independent satellite event, and incorporated at the last minute by Harald Szeemann into his 48th Biennial. Adéagbo was given an award of the Jury for this work.

Each installation is produced for the specific site of its exhibition, incorporating archival and found material from the immediate surroundings. At the Whitworth Art Gallery Adéagbo’s installation The Becoming of the Human Being... illuminates and traces relationships between Manchester and Cotonou, via the wider context of the UK, France, America and Africa. Laid out in a museological, or shrine- like display, the objects and Adéagbo’s own notes lead visitors to make connections between the specific and the universal, as conducted by Adéagbo’s associations and juxtapositions.


Studied Law and Business Administration in Adibjan, Ivory Coast and in Rouen, France in the 1960s before returning to Benin. He has never received any formal art training.

Recent solo shows include MUSAC Leon, Spain 2011; MAK, Vienna, Austria, 2009.

Recent group shows include La Triennale: Intense Proximité, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France, 2012; ARS II, KIASMA, Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland, 2011; Fare Mondi, 53rd Venice Biennale, Italy 2009.

His work is part of major international collections including Philadelphia Museum of Art, USA; Museum Ludwig Cologne, Germany; Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Japan; KIASMA Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland; MUSAC, Leon, Spain; MAK, Vienna, Austria; LA MOCA, Los Angeles, USA and others.


Martin Barlow, curator of the exhibition Moving Into Space at the National Football Museum talks about the exhibition.

Barthélémy Toguo, Lucy Azubuike and Nnenna Okore, three of the exhibited artists, talk about their work and their interest in using materials which reflect the lifestyle and experience of the people of West Africa.

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Nine countries show off their talent as five city venues link up for a summer celebration. Helen Nugent in the Guardian

Street life, dazzling dress, social commentary and a riot of sensuous colour interweave in a rich assembly of West African art, writes Charles Gore in the Times Higher Education