In Conversation with Meschac Gaba

In Conversation with Meschac Gaba

Publié dans Art Market

In his practice, Meschac Gaba explores a variety of subjects such as urban architecture, commercial dynamics, cultural identities, and Africa’s place in the world. Through colossal installations, ceremonial performances, and interactive projects, the artist playfully reflects on African identities and representation informed by tension between economic power and colonization. His work challenges the politic of display and conventions of viewing art in public spaces.

Meschac Gaba talks about why his work is mostly presented in the streets of his hometown instead of in the museums. “You know the market is a trade place. My work also deals with trade, economy and money. The bridge is also an alternative place to exhibit and people don’t go to museums. People don’t go to look at art in a gallery,” he says. One of his processional performance consisted of a group of people wearing architectural wigs, which were hand-braided in the shape of objects, symbols, and architectural items. After the performance, the wigs were displayed as standalone art pieces in an aesthetic way that highlight different aspects of civil society including religion, education, and finance.

Meschac Gaba is a Beninese conceptual artist based in Rotterdam and Cotonou. His installations of everyday objects fancifully juxtapose cultural elements of African and Western origin. In 1997, he started a 5-year project called The Museum of Contemporary African Art as part of his residency at the Amsterdam Rijksakademie. It is a large-scale installation which reflects on the nature of the museum and blurs the boundaries between art and commerce. His work was first displayed in part at Documenta 11 in 2002, and other art events and museums the following years. Gaba has participated in several biennials and his work has been presented in various solo exhibitions and group shows.


Publié dans Art Market  |  septembre 17, 2022