»La Rencontre de l’Afrique et du Japon«

'The encounter of Africa and Japan'

»Vivant ici, sait-on que l’on a encore l’un des membres de sa famille là bas..?«*

An installation by Georges Adéagbo for the Toyota Municipal Museum of Art
From June 27th, 2000 until September 24th,

Toyota City, Kozaka-hon-machi, Aichi Pref.471-0034, Japan, for travel or general information contact Ms.Yoko Nose Tel.: +81-565-34 6610 Facsimile: .: +81-565-31 4983
*'Living here, is one aware that a member of one's family lives over there?'

June 27th 2000. After having completed the installation in the pristine gallery II, a 7 x 7m
room with skylights, Georges began to explain various aspects of his installation called
‘La Rencontre de l’Afrique et du Japon’. The lecture of the work begins to the right side
of the entrance with descriptions of early Chinese, Korean and Japanese Culture, to show
the multi-faceted origin and the unique process of destilling and transformation achieved
by the Japanese over the centuries.

Moving towards the central wall Georges begins to illustrate, that each family has their
mission, using the Toyoda family in Aichi Prefecture as an example. Prolific in the
production of automatic looms, Sakichi Toyoda was a pioneer in engineering and
machine building, whereas his son, Kiichiro Toyoda, recognized in the twenties, that he
had a different task than his father. Georges sees Kiichiro’s self courage to stand up and
embark on a different venture than his predecessors, as an essential component in taking
leader ship and triggering the economic evolution of Japan, by giving birth to Toyota
Motors Company.

A small old Japanese shrine, retired from serving as Akiba Jinja on a mountain top,
marks the center of the main wall. Georges placed an old base ball in the inner chamber,
as a symbol for the idea of a ‘starting point.’ He says: ‘It does not serve to, run, if you did
not start out at the right moment. Everything has its moment to unfold, and calm
observation of the situation might yield more results than blind ambition.’

The left wall hosts images of the worlds religion, through which Georges illustrates his
point of view, that mankind finds many forms for the same kind of spirituality. If men
could learn, that the world is like one big bottle with one contents, onto which everyone
attaches a label in his language from different sides, nothing could destroy the
equilibrium of various people coexisting.

When asked about the nature of ‘The encounter of Africa and Japan’ Georges reminds,
that the relationship was never stained by pride, jealousy, war or colonial domination.
Many of the things one finds in Benin, one can also discover in Japan. For example the
idea of inviting the spirits of the ancestors through certain ceremonies, called Obon in
Japan and Egun dance in Benin and Nigeria. Georges brought four extremely rare Egun
dance costumes from Africa and installed one in each corner of his space in the Toyota

Georges thinks that the success of this country comes from the ability to choose between
useful and meaningless actions, to filter the good from the bad. Many Africans have not
developed this skill to set fruitful preferences and priorities, which explains the drifting
around and lack of making use of the abundant primary resources.

On the other hand, what lacks Japan, might be something which is available in Benin and
reverse. Georges believes one of the most important aspects of life is complementarity.
Rather than wanting to be like the other, or longing for someone’s property, it seems
wise to study one’s own resources and contribute to society what the others don’t have.
On July 2nd about 70 visitors attended the ‘conversation with the artist’ at the Toyota
Museum. After looking of slides from various exhibitions, a general discussion about his
work, and the meaning of art evolved over several hours. Georges’ main concern was to
have the audience understand, that he does not consider himself as an artist, but as
someone who makes compositions about ‘art.’

view preparations for the Toyota installation return to jointadventures coverpage  

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