»Hommage à Napoléon le Grand«

in: 'Le Jardin' from June 21 to September 24th 2000
at: Villa Medici, Rome, Viale Trinita dei Monti, 1, 00187 Roma, Tel. +39-06-67 61 1 fax 67 61 305

In response to the invitation of the Villa Medici contemporary exhibition program
curators, Georges Adéagbo prepared a site specific installation for the group show
entitled ‘Le Jardin’. His ideas devoloped around Napoléon Bonaparte, who acquired the
villa for France in 1801, the relationship to his wife Josephine and the complex history of
the villa as a shell for generations to perform on her stage.

Georges worked with the unique architectural disposition of the ‘Loggia’, where inside
and outside life merges. Paintings, sculptures and texts, referring to the history of the
Medici family and the catholic church were installed in the eight niches of this immense
veranda. Since the Medici family contributed three popes over the centuries to the
Vatican, many images refer to turning points of the clergy sculpting the catholic doctrine.
In the garden, Georges placed a plaque with a text questioning whether the experience of
time passing can be framed with hard edged calendar systems.

Most elements were especially produced by artisans in Benin for this installation, such as
the sculptures of Napoléon and Josephine, the paintings and texts on glass. Since the
original bust of Napoléon was stolen a couple of decades ago from one of the veranda’s
niches, Georges used the opportunity to return a Benin made version. Benin, formerly
called Dahomey, was one of the richest colonies of France in Western Africa from 1894
to 1961.

Georges Adéagbo creates a symmetric mirror image between eras passed and his own
creation by reenacting some of the mechanisms which led to each European dynasty leaving their
testimony through artisans at their service, by commissioning or buying all elements in Benin and
on location, rather than getting involved in any aspect of the manual production himself.

© 1999 Joint Adventures Art Projects
For further information:
Stephan Köhler
Fax +81-52-955 0121, Tel. +81-575-34 8335