310809: MAK-Applied Arts/Contemporary Art: Georges Adéagbo – The Colonization and the History of the Colonized

MAK-Applied Arts/Contemporary Art: Georges Adéagbo – The Colonization and the History of the Colonized Quest for Global Dominance In La Fontaine’s fable “The Peacock complaining to Juno” the peacock bemoans that he has no talent to sing. Juno, the “Queen of Heaven” rebukes him. “No animal in everything can shine, by just partition of our gifts divine.” And: “if there is any discontent, I’ve heard not of it.” Georges Adéagbo’s installation of La Fontaine’s simile - a commissioned artist from Benin painted this text with an illustration – comes across as rather cynical, as this exhibition deals with the topic of colonization. The artist collects different types of material on the walls and the floor as well as the niches of the MAK gallery: newspaper clippings, postcards, records, travel guides, novels, travel reports, flyers on upcoming art events, and paintings with descriptive texts about the monarchy. Austria’s kitschy monarchal image forms the main theme of Adéagbo’s multifaceted and carefully composed assemblage: a card, on which Vienna markets itself as the “City of Music”, another with a e Gugelhupf (Bundt cake) recipe, Sisi-pictures everywhere, an advertisement for the champagne brand “Metternich”, dancing couples dressed in their national costume depicted on records, and a nature glorifying newspaper ad for a food company. Adéagbo links these elements with African figures, which were carved by Benin artists, newspaper clippings on world politics, books including the Handbook of applied Ethnology” published in 1947 “Africa, which pleas for colonization, war reports or novels on “important discoverers”. Adéagbo’s work is considerable. Although the juxtaposition of nationalistic tendencies and the quest for global dominance, two categories that are prerequisites for one another, are presented convincingly, less would have been more: the abundance of material results in inaccuracy, which is not at all helpful. The interventions in the permanent collection of MAK are unmotivated rather than well conceived. By Nina Schedlmayer MAK Applied Arts /Contemporary Art 1010 Vienna, Stubenring 5, until 13.09.09 www.mak.at

MAK - Museum für angewandte Kunst
1010 Wien, Stubenring 5
Tel: +43 1 711 36-0, Fax: +43 1 713 10 26
Email: office@mak.at
Öffnungszeiten: Di 10-21, Mi-So 10-18 h

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