Georges Adéagbo

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. Centre Pompidou, Paris, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Toyota City Museum, KIASMA Helsinki and The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

The exhibitions are supported and co-curated by Stephan Köhler (Cultural Forum South-North Hamburg-Cotonou).

Awards & Grants

2020 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (SARF)
2017 Finkenwerder Kunstpreis
2006/07 DAAD artists’ program Berlin
1999 Venice Biennial 1999, premio della Giuria


Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2020
Musée d’art et d’histoire Genève, Maison Tavel, Geneva, Switzerland, 2018
The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2016
Sammlung zeitgenössischer Kunst der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, 2014
Moderna Museet Stockholm, 2014
Whitworth Art Gallery The University of Manchester, 2013
Collection Cecile Fakhouri Abidjan, 2013
GIZ Regional Office Cotonou, 2012
KIASMA Helsinki, 2011
MUSAC Leon, 2011
MAK Vienna, 2009
Oslo National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, 2009
Ulmer Museum, 2007
Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2006
Blake Byrne, Los Angeles, 1999 (donated to L.A. MoCA spring 2005)
Museum Ludwig Cologne, 2003
Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, 2000 and 2004

Solo Exhibitions

"Georges Adéagbo – Ein neues Werk für die Hamburger Kunsthalle"
Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany

"Create to Free Yourselves: Abraham Lincoln and the History of Freeing Slaves in America", Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington, D.C., USA

"Ouidah d’hier et Ouidah d’aujourd’hui", Atlantic, Ouidah, Benin
"À l’école de Ernest Barlach, le sculpteur", Ernst Barlach Haus, Hamburg, Germany

"La lumière qui fait le bonheur…", Maschinenhaus M2, KINDL – Zentrum für zeitgenössische Kunst, Berlin, Germany
"La Philosophie de l‘art…" & "L‘Eau, la clé…", Musée d’art et d’histoire Genève, Maison Tavel, Geneva, Switzerland

"L’Abécédaire de Georges Adéagbo: la civilisation parlant et faisant voir la culture"..!, Galerie Barbara Wien, Berlin, Germany

"La mort et la résurrection d’Aby Warburg"..!, Warburg-Haus, Hamburg, Germany

St. Petri zu Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany
"Genève Suisse d’hier et Genève Suisse d’aujourd’hui", Maison Tavel & Palais des Nations, UNO, Geneva, Switzerland
"Que suis-je né et fait pour être dans la vie (à la rencontre de la seconde personne de soi)", HúS Espace d’exposition de l’École Supérieure d’art et Design Le havre-Rouen (ESADHaR), France
"Le pays, leur pays, mon pays, l’histoire de mon pays ... ", Centre André Malraux, Rouen, France
"Jeanne et Jeanne (les expressionnistes avec les impressionnistes, et l’histoire de Jeanne)... !", Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen, France

"Georges Adéagbo – Finkenwerder Kunstpreis 2017", Kunsthaus Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany

"Georges Adéagbo, The Defense...! / La défense...!", Gallery Lumen Travo, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
"Knowing oneself, does one know who the other is? Africa in Jerusalem", Focus Gallery, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel

"Inverted Space", Kulturforum Süd-Nord und Stadtkuratorin Hamburg, Germany

"Les artistes et l’écriture"..!", Galerie Barbara Wien, Berlin, Germany
"La Naissance de Stockholm", Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden

"Decolonize München", Münchener Stadtmuseum, Sammlung der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Munich, Germany
"Il était une fois, Košice: Košice d’hier, Košice d’aujourd’hui..!", Make-Up Gallery, Košice, Slovakia

"La Mission et les Missionnaires", MUSAC, Leon, Spain

"La Culture et les Cultures – La Chine à Hambourg", Galerie Holzhauer, Hamburg, Germany

"Die Kolonisation und die Geschichte der Kolonisierten", MAK Vienna, Austria

"La rencontre..!" Venise-Florence, Palazzo Vecchio and Gallery Frittelli, Florence, Italy
"La Belgique au Congo", Sint Lukas Galerie, Brussels, Belgium

"Tout de Moi à Tous", daadgallery Berlin, Germany
"La rencontre..!" Venise-Florence, Fondazione Querini Stampalia-Venice, Italy

’Dieu-créateur dans la création’ und ’AC-DC Archiv des Museum Ludwig’, Galerie Elisabeth Kaufmann, Zürich, Switzerland

"L’explorateur et les explorateurs devant l’histoire de l’exploration".. !-Le théâtre du monde.. !", Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany
"Le Socialisme Africain", Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK

"L’Epoque Pythagoreene", Galerie im Taxispalais, Innsbruck, Austria

"La rencontre de l’Afrique et du Japon", Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Toyoto, Japan
"Abraham, l’ami de Dieu", P.S.1, New York, Long Island City, USA

"Death and Resurrection (La mort et la résurrection)", Galerie Natalie Obadia, Paris, France
"Redemption, the Redeemer (la rédemption, le rédempteur)", le Quartier, centre d’art contemporain, Quimper, France

Group Exhibitions

"Le Bénin d‘hier, le Bénin d‘aujourd‘hui", Fondation Clément, Martinique (December)
"Revolutionary Romances - Global Art Histories in the GDR", Albertinum, Dresden, Germany
"Elmgreen & Dragset: READ", Kunsthalle Praha, Prague, Czech Republic
"Machinations", Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain

"The Self-Taught Enigma", Musée d’art moderne et contemporain de Saint-Étienne Métropole, France
"Nimmersatt? Imagining Society without Growth", Kunsthalle Münster, LWL–Museum für Kunst und Kultur, Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster, Germany

"Global(e) Résistance", Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
"Stoa169", Polling, Germany

"Kunstbetriebe 3", Kunsthalle St. Annen, Lübeck, Germany
"Anarchive", Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig, Germany

"der grosse Anspruch des kleinen Bildes", Galerie Barbara Wien, Berlin, Germany
"Deutschland ist keine Insel", Sammlung zeitgenössischer Kunst der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn, Germany

"Beyond the Box. Sammlung Dohmen", Leopold-Hoesch-Museum, Düren, Germany
"Between Departure and Arrival", Schloss Agathenburg, Germany
"AFRICA. Telling a world", Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, Milan, Italy
"The White Hunter: African memories and representations", FM Centre for Contemporary Art, Milan, Italy

"Georges Adéagbo and Otobong Nkanga", Gallery Lumen Travo, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
"Wir nennen es Ludwig", Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany
"THE INCANTATION OF THE DISQUIETING MUSE. On Divinity, Parallel- and Supra-realities or the Exorcisement of ’Witchery’, SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin, Germany
"Why not Ask Again?", 11th Shanghai Biennale, China
"An Age Of Our Own Making", Images Biennial, Holbaek, Denmark
"... und eine welt noch", Kunsthaus Hamburg, Germany

"After Babel", Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden
"Global Imagination", Museum de Lakenhal, Leiden, Netherlands
"The Problem of God", Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Germany

"Bois Secret", Dakar Biennale, Off event curated by Martine Boucher, Dakar, Senegal
"Colonia Apócrifa", Re-installation of "The Mission and Missionaries", MUSAC, León, Spain
"L’Allemagne avant la guerre et L’Allemagne après la guerre..!", Re-installation, Iwalewa Haus, Bayreuth, Germany
"Artevida", School of Visual Arts Parque Lage, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

"DECOLONIZE MÜNCHEN" at the Stadtmuseum München, Germany
"L’Allemagne avant la guerre et L’Allemagne après la guerre..!", Iwalewa Haus, Bayreuth, Germany

Paris Triennial, Palais de Tokyo, France, curated by Okwui Enwezor
"We Face Forward", Whitworth Art Gallery Manchester, UK
"The Storytellers", The Stenersen Museum Oslo, Norway
"Biennale Regard Benin 2012", Porto Novo and Togbin Plage, Cotonou, Benin

"ARS 11", Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland
"ABSOLUTT INSTALLASJON National Museum for Art", Architecture and Design. Oslo, Norway. Reinstallation of the work commissioned for the exhibition "Hypocrisy" in 2009

"Transparancy" Trasparenze, Macro Futuro Rome, Italy, curated by Laura Cherubini and Sauro Bocchi, hosted by Fabula in Art
"Transparancy" Trasparenze, MADRE Napoli, Italy

"Hypocrisy-The Site Specifity of Morality" Oslo National Museum of Contemporary Art, Norway
"Fare Mondi" 53rd Venice Biennial, Italy

"Ephemeral Fringes", Art Brussels, Belgium
"Regardez l’histoire!" in "See History 2008" Kunsthalle Kiel, Germany
"Intolerance" Ravello Festival, Sorento, Italy

"Créer le monde en faisant des collections- hommage a Christoph Weickmann", in "Weickmann’s Wunderkammer", Ulmer Museum, Ulm, Germany
"Un espace avec le Monde", in "Beyond the Wall", Stiftung Brandenburger Tor, Max Liebermann Haus, Berlin, Germany

"Abraham, l’ami de Dieu" (Philadelphia version) Philadelphia Museum of Art, USA
in "Notations: Out of Words" that included also Bruce Nauman, On Kawara, Glenn Ligon and Joseph Kosuth

"Dieu-créateur dans la création" and "AC-DC Archiv des Museum Ludwig" both in modified versions at Galerie Kaufmann, Zürich, Switzerland
"La Colonisation Belge en Afrique Noir", modified version in Belgique Visionnaire, Bozar, Brussels, curated by Harald Szeemann
The Blake Byrne Collection, ed. The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, USA

"In the Bed" in: "In Bed." Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Toyoto, Japan
"Dieu-créateur dans la création", Art Cologne, Stand Galerie Elisabeth Kaufmann, Germany
"AC-DC Archiv des Museum Ludwig", Rheinschau, Cologne, Germany

"L’explorateur et les explorateurs devant l’histoire de l’exploration..!-Le théâtre du monde.. !", in : Documenta 11, Kassel, Germany

"Le Socialisme Africain (African Socialism)" in: "The Short Century" by Okwui Enwezor four venues. Villa Stuck - Munich, Haus der Kulturen der Welt-Berlin, Germany; MCA-Chicago, P.S.1- New York (2002), USA
"Un espace...! Monde (histoire de l’art)" in : Ein Raum ist eine Welt, Kunsthalle Zurich, Switzerland

"ForwArt : a choice", six curators-six artists, Harald Szeemann invited Georges Adéagbo, who composed "La colonisation Belge en Afrique noir" for this exhibition in Brussels hosted by the BBL (banque bruxelles lambert) Belgium
"La resurrection de Edith Piaf" in "Voilà . le monde dans la tête", Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris, France
"Hommage à Napoléon le grand" in "la ville, le jardin, la mémoire", Rome, installation in the loggia and the garden of villa Medici, Italy
for "Partage de l’exotisme" at the fifth Biennale de Lyon, France, the piece "La mort et la resurrection (Death and Resurrection", created for the exhibition at Galerie Natalie Obadia, Paris 1997) was partially installed against the artists will

"Venise d’hier-Venise d’aujour d’hui" ("The Story of the Lion") a one-day installation for the Campo dell’Arsenale, June 10, hosted by Joint Adventures Art Projects and the Venice Biennial,Italy, awarded with the ’premio della giuria’ (prize of the jury)
"Kunstwelten im Dialog", Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany. Concept: Marc Scheps (Global Art Rheinland 2000) Against Georges Adégbo’s will, the piece "Death and Resurrection" (dedicated for a gallery exhibition in Paris 1997) was partially installed. His offer to create a site specific installation for the occasion and city of Cologne was refused

"Cannibalism" (le canibalisme) in "Roteiros, Roteiros, ...Roteiros", XXIV Biennale de Sao Paolo, Brazil
"The Philosophical Schools" (Les Écoles philosophiques), 7. Triennale der Klein-Plastik, Afrika-Europa, Stuttgart, Germany

Johannesburg Biennial, South Africa
"Contemporary Art and Modern Art" (L’art contemporain et l’art moderne) "Georges Adéagbo and Honoré d’O",
Kunsthalle FRI-ART, Fribourg, Switzerland
"Creativity" (la créativité) in "Die anderen Modernen", Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany
"The Guardians of the World" (Les veilleurs du monde), studio-session and exhibition at the Centre Culturel Français, Cotonou, Benin and Musée national d’arts d’Afrique et d’Océanie, Paris, France
"The First Year of Democracy" 1997-1998 (L’An 01 de la démocratie) in "Alternating Currents," 2nd Johannesburg Biennial, South Africa

"Images of Africa" (Les images de l’afrique), in "African Art towards the Year 2000", Round Tower, Copenhagen, Denmark
"The Rennaissance" (La renaissance), Galerie du jour Agnès B., Paris, France

"Peace in the World" (La paix dans le monde)in "Dialog des Friedens", Palais of the United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland
"Art and Evolution", (L’art et l’evolution) in "Big City", The Serpentine Gallery, London, UK
"Archaeology" (L’archéologie) in "African Artists and Aids", Centre Culturel Français, Cotonou, Benin; The Dakar Biennial, Senegal

"Archaeology" (L’archéologie), in "La Route de l’art sur la Route de l’esclave", Saline Royale d’Arc-et-Senans, France; traveling in 1997 to : Centre culturel du SESC Pompeia, Sâo Paolo, Brazil, 1998: Musée d’art moderne, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and Centre culturel de Fond Saint-Jacques, Sainte-Marie, Martinique, 1999 Artchipel, scène nationale de la Guadeloupe

Selected Bibliography

(Engl.). Hrsg. v. Safia Dickersbach, Texte (über Adéagbo) v. Stephan Köhler & Kathryn M. Floyd, 300 S., zahlr. farb. Abb., 26x21, brosch.. Berlin 2019
(This periodical, subtitled "Global Perspectives on Visual Vocabulary", has a richly illustrated, 16 page long feature on Adéagbo with essays by Stephan Köhler and Kathryn M. Floyd)

Knowing oneself, does one know who the other is...? Africa in Jerusalem
Kat. (Eng./Hebr.). Texte v. Rita Kersting, Kobi Ben-Meir & Dorit Shafir. 96 S., 74 farb. Abb., 16,5x24, brosch.. Jerusalem 2016(This publication follows the progression of his work in Israel and the West Bank as he prepared the site-specific installation that opened at the Israel Museum in 2016. Containing many large scale images from the exhibition as well as essays by Ben-Meir, Kersting and Shafir, it makes for a fascinating exposé on the creative approach utilized by this unique artist)

Georges Adéagbo – The Mission and the Missionaries
Kat. (Engl.), Hrsg. v. Octavio Zaya. Foreword by Augustin Perez Rubio. Texte von Kerstin Schankweiler, Georges Adéagbo, Octavio Zaya. 176S., 112 farb. & 21 s/w Abb., 17x24, brosch.. Milan 2012 (For this monograph, Adéago addresses the theme of "The Mission and the Missionaries," using historical and personal materials such as books, magazines, photographs and textiles)

Adéagbo, Georges. Die Mobilisierung der Dinge. Ortsspezifik und Kulturtransfer in den Installationen von Georges Adéagbo
(Dt.). Text v. Kerstin Schankweiler. 328 S., zahlr. s/w & farb. Abb., 22,5x15, brosch.. Bielefeld 2012 (Angesichts der eurozentristischen Rezeption von Kunst aus Afrika dient Adéagbos Arbeitsweise in diesem Band als Ausgangspunkt für Überlegungen zu einer transkulturellen Kunstgeschichtsschreibung.)

Grand Tour di un Africano
Kat. (Ital./Engl.). Hrsg. v. Chiara Bertola & Stephan Köhler. Texte v. Homi K. Bhabha, Johannes Gachnang, Marta Savaris u.a.. 276 S., zahlr. Abb.,24x17, brosch.. Poggibonsi 2008 (Übersichtskatalog über wichtige Ausstellungsstationen Adéagbos, so u.a. in Venedig, Rom, und Florenz.)

"La rencontre..!" Venise - Florence..!
Kat. (Ital./Engl.). Hrsg. v. Chiara Bertola & Stephan Köhler.Texte v. Chiara Bertola & Stephan Köhler. 160 S., zahlr. Abb., 18x12, brosch.. Pistoia 2008

DC: Georges Adéagbo
Kat. (Dt./Engl.) Texte v. Homi K. Bhabha & Viktoria Schmidt-Linsenhoff. 36 S., 16 farb. Abb., 30x24, Ppdg.. Köln 2004 (Spätestens seit der Documenta 11 zählt Georges Adéagbo zu den bekanntesten westafrikanischen Künstlern. In seiner, in diesem Katalog vorgestellten Installation konfrontiert Adéagbo das Klischeebild v. Afrika mit Fundstücken den Präsentationsortes.)

Archäologie der Motivationen – Geschichte neu schreiben
Kat. (Dt./Engl.). Mit Beiträgen v. Elizabeth Harney, Johannes Gachnang, Okwui Enwezor u.a. sowie einer beigelegtem farb. Falttafel. 113 S., 43 farb. & wenige s/w Abb., 20x15,5, brosch.. Ostfildern 2001
(Umfassender Werkkatalog, der sich als Anthologie der Arbeiten des aus Benin stammenden Künsters versteht. Adéagbos "Archäologie der Motivationen" geht es dabei nicht um das demokratische Nebeneinander v. Fakten, sondern um eine Demontration des Verfahrens mit dem Geschichte selbst geschrieben wird.)

The Story of the Lion
Künstlerbuch, mit Texten v. Adéagbo (Dt./Engl.), welches zur Installation auf dem Campo dell‘Arsenale in Venedig für die 48. Biennale di Venezia 1999 entstand. Einmalige Aufl. v. 300 Exx.. 7 doppelseitig bedruckte Falttafel (à 76 x 21.5), 26 x 22 cm, faltbare Pappdeckeleinband. Hamburg 1999

Briegleb, Till: Zwiesprache mit der Unterhose. Süddeutsche Zeitung, February 9, 2023 (online)

Schiff, Hajo: Georges Adéagbo. À l‘école de Ernest Barlach, le sculpteur.
KUNSTFORUM International, Issue 286, January – February, 2023

Dr. Carsten Brosda, Kultur Senator der Stadt Hamburg, Eröffnungsrede zur Ausstellung
Georges Adéagbo: »À l’école de Ernest Barlach, le sculpteur« – Hommage zum 80. Geburtstag, Ernst-Barlach-Haus, Hamburg, 30.10.2022

Georges Adéagbo im Gespräch mit Oliver Zybok Ich brauche einen Kopf, und es ist nur mein Kopf, der mir nützt., KUNSTFORUM, Bd. 276, Aug. – Sept. 2021, S. 198–207

Kristian Vistrup Madsen, Georges Adéagbo at Barbara Wien, Artforum, Vol. 59, No. 1, September 2020, p. 189

Claudia Wahjudi "L‘Abécédaire de Georges Adéagbo: ..."..!" KUNSTFORUM International, Band 268, Juni - Juli 2020

Erin Honeycutt Cultural Transfer: ‘L’Abécédaire de Georges Adéagbo’ at Barbara Wien Gallery, Berlin Art Link, 03 July, 2020

Mitch Speed Georges Adéagbo, Barbara Wien, Berlin, Germany, frieze No.212, July/August 2020, p.18

Max Glauner Civilization’s growths. George Adéagbo Barbara Wien’s Gallery in Berlin, 28 March, 2020

Max Glauner Wucherung der Zivilisation in: Zitty, Nr.6, 2020, S.66

Stephan Köhler A Dimension to Explore – Georges Adéagbo as a Writer and Historian, Kathryn M. Floyd "Georges Adéagbo in Venice: Artist, Curator, Philosopher, Friend", PRŌTOCOLLUM, 2019-2020, p. 198-213

Stephan Köhler, Georges Adéagbo als Autor und Historiker - Eine zu entdeckende Dimension in: Booklet published on the occasion of Georges Adéagbo’s exhibition at Each One Teach One (EOTO) e.V. as part of AFROLUTION 2019 (DE/EN/FR)

Till Briegleb Geister gegen Waffen in: Sueddeutsche Zeitung, September 16, 2017

Press release Kunsthaus Hamburg Georges Adéagbo: Á la rencontre de l’art – 2017 Finkenwerder Art Prize in: Contemporary And (C&), September 4, 2017

Hajo Schiff Alles hängt mit allem zusammen in: TAZ, September 15, 2017, p.28

Homi K. Bhabha, La Question Adéagbo, in: Julia Friedrich, Kaspar König (Eds.), DC: Georges Adéagbo, L’explorateur et les explorateurs devant l’histoire de l’exploration..! Le théâtre du monde, Cologne 2004

Die Mobilisierung der Dinge von Kerstin Schankweiler (pdf)

Ein Labor der Begegnungen von Stephan Köhler (pdf)

The Artist in Writing by Gauthier Lesturgie (pdf EN), L’artiste dans l’écriture by Gauthier Lesturgie (pdf FR)

Viktoria Schmidt-Linsenhoff, The Aesthetics of Production, A–Z, in: Julia Friedrich, Kaspar König (Eds.), DC: Georges Adéagbo, L’explorateur et les explorateurs devant l’histoire de l’exploration..! Le théâtre du monde, Cologne 2004

Holert, Tom: The Short Century. Artforum, vol. 39, no. 9, May, 2001

Okwui Enwezor, The Ruined City: Desolation, Rapture, and Georges Adéagbo. Nka - Journal of Contemporary African Art, Number 4, Spring 1996