»Le Socialisme Africain«
‘African Socialism’

An installation by Georges Adéagbo for Villa Stuck, Munich, first venue of Okwui Enwezor's exhibition
'The Short Century' February 14 to April 22, 2001. Further venues at bottom of page.

Georges’ installation for Okwui’s show ‘The Short Century’ at Villa Stuck plays on
several levels, which all merge in a network even denser than his recent works
shown in New York and Toyota City. On one hand, this might be due to the size of the
space created for Georges, measuring only about five by four meters with high walls,
on the other hand to the complexity of the theme.
The distribution of paintings follows almost the traditional pattern found in Italian
renaissance churches, giving the installation the spirit of a chapel commemorating the
suffering of saints.

While the elements which talk about the recent history of Africa were brought from
Benin, Georges introduced after a week of intense search dozens of books written by
German explorers and various authors between the end of the 19th century until now
about Africa. Their titles alone disclose the longing for exotic excursions or
discrimination by stereotype criteria. “Feuer und Schwert im Sudan” “Wild und Wilde
im Herzen Afrikas” “Negerleben in Ostafrika” “Der Kampf im Sueden, Afrikanisches


Georges did not hesitate to shop for examples of Bavarian Folklore on Munich's flea markets and
thrift shops. The composition of record covers showing tribal events in traditional
clothes, such as mountain ‘Jodel’ choirs clad in leather trousers and felt hats crowned
with ‘Auerhahnfedern und Gamsbart’ (feathers and mountain goat beards) together with a
tableau of the Wittelsbach family’s lineage betray that no one may consider himself
exempt from being an object of ethnological observation.
From his reference library in Cotonou, a core set of important books which never may
travel, Georges made hundreds of Xeroxes concerning history, philosophy, and literature,
all chosen in relationship to the theme.

Participating in an exhibition which is meant to travel to three further venues represents a
particular challenge for Georges. The work on show in Munich is expressively composed
for the Munich public and cannot be shown in the same manner in Berlin, Chicago and
New York. Similar as the prescriptions for individual patients may not be confused,
Georges work resists the generic attitude, to show anything anywhere and he
continuously defends the exclusively site specific aspect of his installations even in the
framework of a traveling show. Therefore his participation at the following venues of
‘The Short Century’ is only possible, if the hosts understand that having Georges’ work
in the exhibition demands their willingness to nurture the modification of the installation
to fit their city.
Stephan Köhler

For further information:
Stephan Köhler
Fax +81-52-955 0121, Tel. +81-575-34 8335