Meschac Gaba
1961, Cotonou, Benin. Lives and works in Amsterdam

But what Meschac Gaba exhibits in every section of the device of the museum is nothing other than his own autobiography, shown as an interior of a contemporary diorama, with its living contexts, spaces of public gathering, and places of relational space. It’s an extension consistent with the model of the “natural world” collected in ethographic museums or in the “cabinet de curiosité” of the past, but, at the same time, a radical criticism of the power of Western culture. The existence that Gaba presents mines every cliché of the exotic, of presumed and alternative primitivism. It doesn’t claim any myth of belonging, but rather explores a series of practices of adaptation; tactics of fragmented appropriation, ordinariness, and mimetics that can’t have any background except that of the hegemony of the ‘Other,’ of the West. What it gives form to is, in essence, an intermediary space, an incidental terrain on which, and only on which, it is possible to construct an alternative social theory on the global-political order.
— Marco Scotini


Selected solo exhibitions: 2002: Artra, Milan/ Genova; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; 2001: Lumen Travo, Amsterdam; Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam; Kunsthalle, Bern; 2000: S.M.A.K., Gent; Gebauer, Berlino.
Selected group exhibitions: 2003: 50a Biennale di Venezia; Networking, The cities of people, Florence; 2002: Documenta 11, Kassel; New Deal, Centre d’art contemporain, Geneva; 2001: Réalité realizé, Albi, France; 9th Arnhem Red Ribbon Art, Groninger Museum, Holland; 2000: For Real, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Taipei Biennale; A casa di, Cittadellarte Fondazione Pistoletto, Biella, Italy; Continental Shift: A Voyage
between Cultures, Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht; The Concept of Value in Contemporary Art, Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana; Chess Game, Kunstmesse, Basel.




Flag, 2002. Courtesy Artra, Milan.