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Exhibition at KINDL: Georges Adakpo – Searching for Artist Traces in Culture

“What is art? It’s a way to talk to your neighbor without becoming an enemy, ”says Georges Adakpo. He named it for an exhibition in 2017 in Kunstas Hamburg. The motto now applies when the artist, born in 1942 in Cotonou, Benin, stops with a large exhibition in Newcool, as a way to expand his art.

Berlin is also well known to Georges Adakbo, who has traveled for many years between Cotonou and Hamburg. In 2006 he was a guest on the DAAD artist show in town, lived in an apartment in Charlottenburg and enjoyed the “summer fairy tale”. Both the experience in West Berlin and the Football World Cup in Germany have now become part of the larger crowd that Adakbo is now showcasing at the Kindle Center for Contemporary Art.

He worked on it for two weeks, and two old works form the starting point of the show. But, as always, Adakbo has made an important update to connect the present with the past and the future. That is his specialty.

For five decades, Georges Adacbo has been weaving a collection of cultural artifacts, Objects d’Art, Play Market Kitsch, books and documents from Europe and West Africa. It entered the art world until 1994, when a curator in Benin accidentally discovered his work.

Colonialism and the Clichs of Africa

Adakbo ensures intercontinental communication by specifying links. This does not mean that the reference to colonialism and African clichs cannot be clear. Like his installation “Analysts and researchers in the face of research history …! Das Weldeater ”, which was featured in a documentary in Castle in 2002, which helped him achieve international success.

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Georges Adakpo set up his installation on the Kindle.Photo: Georges Adakpo / VG Built-Kunst Bon, 2021 Photo: Kindle

Today the work is owned by the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, which, when the house was purchased, is the second work by an African artist.

At the time, Adaco enriched the documentation with materials from the colon. He has now done the same in Berlin.

Find out from the liquor

The Kindle assembly is enriched with materials found at Newcallen, for example beer glasses and pieces of old tiles Go to the former Kindle Bar which has been converted into an art center. Adakpo says on opening Sunday during a conversation in the exhibition room: “Things come on their own. At 79, he’s energetic – and full of stories.

He points to an African wooden sculpture about 30 centimeters high. “She didn’t see a mirror,” he says with a smile. The sculpture selected an enlarged beer mug, which was brought in by a Kindle employee. Now a pamphlet on African sculpture, Dangard and a redesigned section of Karl-Marx-Strauss stands on an Oriental carpet.

At best, Adakbo teaches you to trust objects. Things get in the way when no one gets in their way. Art expresses its power if you allow it. If Adakbo had a way, this game of listening and storytelling would not have to be called art. In the West it is probably easier to do so.

Gravity between continents

Everything here points to the attraction of continents, times and cultural boundaries. His research at Newcall led Adakbo to Rickstorf, where he explored the district’s colonial history, finding traces of German colonial soldiers’ memory in a cemetery, as well as Herero and Nama, who had been killed by German troops. Although these conflicting symptoms are not obvious, they are part of the installation.

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[Kindl, Am Sudhaus 3, Neukölln, bis 25. Juli. Nur mit Anmeldung und negativem Corona-Test. kindl-berlin.de]

The artist also shows his collection of fascinating objects: everything is migration, culture is never static, the exchange between West Africa and Europe is never unilateral, even if it is constantly ignored in one direction.

Regarding the current debate over the return of Benin bronzes from the Humboldt forum, Adakbo thinks one should ask what objects are. Some people still want to do a job here, while others do not. But for things to work, rather than things to run, people have to get out of the way first.