Meschac Gaba
b. 1961
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Meschac GABA
Bureau d'échange [Exchange Office]: Architecture
2014
Wood table, metal umbrella frame, assorted banknotes, clothespins, rubberbands, architectural souvenirs
table; 32 1/4 x 53 x 29 1/2 inches; 81.9 x 134.6 x 74.9 cm
umbrella; 73 1/2 x 80 x 80 inches; 186.7 x 203.2 x 203.2 cm
overall; 84 x 80 x 80 inches 213.4 x 203.2 x 203.2 cm

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Meschac GABA
Bureau d'échange [Exchange Office]: Architecture
2014
(detail)

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Meschac GABA
Bureau d'échange [Exchange Office]: Brain, Stone
2014
Wood table, metal umbrella frame, assorted banknotes, clothespins, electroplated gold brain, rocks and brick pieces
table; 32 1/4 x 53 x 29 1/2 inches; 81.9 x 134.6 x 74.9 cm
umbrella; 73 1/2 x 80 x 80 inches; 186.7 x 203.2 x 203.2 cm
overall; 84 x 80 x 80 inches 213.4 x 203.2 x 203.2 cm

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Bureau d'échange [Exchange Office]: Brain, Stone
2014
(detail)

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Meschac GABA
Unity
2014
foosball table; oil paint, wood, metal and plastic
36 5/8 x 59 x 29 3/4 inches; 93 x 150 x 75.5 cm

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Meschac GABA
Souvenir Palace: Iran
2010
billiard table; oil paint, wood, metal and plastic
32 1/4 x 71 1/4 x 37 7/8 inches; 81.9 x 181 x 96.2 cm

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Meschac GABA
Bankivi: Lion Bank
2014
Wood, decommissioned Central African (CFA) franc banknotes, plexiglas, assorted coins
34 1/4 x 17 3/8 x 1 inches; 87 x 44 x 2.5 cm

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Meschac GABA
Souvenir Palace: Large box 3
2014
wood, metal, elastic, oil paint
8 7/8 x 15 1/4 x 11 3/4 inches; 22.5 x 38.7 x 29.8 cm

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Meschac GABA
Souvenir Palace: Coin canister 2
2014
oil paint on metal
8 3/4 x 6 1/8 inches in diameter; 22.2 x 15.6 cm

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Meschac GABA
Souvenir Palace: Letter holder 4
2014
oil paint on wood
4 x 8 x 3 inches; 10.2 x 20.3 x 7.6 cm

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Meschac GABA
Souvenir Palace, flag hats
2010
15 polyester painted hats
dimensions variable
each hat approximately - 3 1/2 x 9 1/4 x 10 inches; 8.9 x 23.5 x 25.4 cm

Collection Pérez Art Museum Miami

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Meschac GABA
Souvenir Palace, flag hats
2010
15 polyester painted hats
dimensions variable
each hat approximately - 3 1/2 x 9 1/4 x 10 inches; 8.9 x 23.5 x 25.4 cm
DETAIL

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Meschac GABA
Bequilles Economiques (economical crutches)
2013
children's crutches covered with Francs CFA banknotes
47 1/4 x 7 7/8 inches; 120 x 20 cm

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Meschac Gaba
Le Jeu (The Game)
2012

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Meschac GABA
Le Jeu (The Game)
2012
1 pair of tennis rackets bound together and covered with Francs CFA banknotes confetti
each racket: 27 1/2 x 19 2/3 x 2 inches; 70 x 50 x 5 cm

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Meschac GABA
Le Jeu (The Game)
2012
1 pair of tennis rackets bound together and covered with Francs CFA banknotes confetti
each racket: 27 1/2 x 19 2/3 x 2 inches; 70 x 50 x 5 cm

slider

Meschac GABA
Le Jeu (The Game)
2012
1 pair of tennis rackets bound together and covered with Francs CFA banknotes confetti
each racket: 27 1/2 x 19 2/3 x 2 inches; 70 x 50 x 5 cm
DETAIL

slider

Meschac GABA
Le Jeu (The Game)
2012
1 pair of tennis rackets bound together and covered with Francs CFA banknotes confetti
each racket: 27 1/2 x 19 2/3 x 2 inches; 70 x 50 x 5 cm

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Meschac GABA
United Nations - Souvenir Palace
2010
painted table with six chairs
table 30 1/4 x 16 1/8 inches; 77 x 41 cm
six chairs, each approximately 19 3/4 x 7 7/8 x 9 7/8 inches; 50 x 20 x 25 cm

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Meschac GABA
La traversée et le capitaine (Horloges des indépendances)
2010
watches, wooden case, glass and wood wall clock
15 x 25 5/8 x 3 1/2 inches; 38.5 x 65 x 9 cm (case)
26 3/8 x 21 5/8 x 2 3/8 inches; 67 x 55 x 6 cm (wall clock)

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Meschac GABA
La traversée et le capitaine (Horloges des indépendances)
2010
watches, wooden case, glass and wood wall clock
15 x 25 5/8 x 3 1/2 inches; 38.5 x 65 x 9 cm (case)
26 3/8 x 21 5/8 x 2 3/8 inches; 67 x 55 x 6 cm (wall clock)
DETAIL

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Meschac GABA
The Rainbow nation - Souvenir Palace
2010
painted table with six chairs
table - 17 x 31 1/2 inches in diameter; 43 x 80 cm
each chair - 23 5/8 x 11 7/8 x 11 7/8 inches; 60 x 30 x 30 cm
Installation view LIverpool Biennial 2010

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Meschac GABA
Architectural wigs
2007-08

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Meschac GABA
Metlife Centre Capetown (Architectural wig)
2007
braided wig of synthetic hair
24 1/2 x 8 1/2 x 14 inches; 62.2 x 21.6 x 35.6 cm

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Meschac GABA
Metlife Centre Capetown (Architectural wig)
2007
braided wig of synthetic hair
24 1/2 x 8 1/2 x 14 inches; 62.2 x 21.6 x 35.6 cm
DETAIL

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Meschac GABA
Milan Chateau d'Eau (Architectural wig)
2008
braided wig of synthetic hair
23 x 10 x 8 inches; 58.4 x 25.4 x 20.3 cm

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Meschac GABA
Milan Chateau d'Eau (Architectural wig)
2008
braided wig of synthetic hair
23 x 10 x 8 inches; 58.4 x 25.4 x 20.3 cm
DETAIL

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Meschac GABA
Benin Maison Private (Architectural wig)
2008
braided wig of synthetic hair
24 x 9 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches; 61 x 24.1 x 24.1 cm

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Meschac GABA
Benin Maison Private (Architectural wig)
2008
braided wig of synthetic hair
24 x 9 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches; 61 x 24.1 x 24.1 cm
DETAIL

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Meschac GABA
Glue Me Peace - We beg for Peace
2005
embroidered jute flag backed with colored cotton
73 x 58 inches; 185.4 x 147.3 cm

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Meschac GABA
Glue Me Peace - We Beg for Love
2005
embroidered jute flag backed with colored cotton
73 x 58 inches; 185.4 x 147.3 cm

slider

Meschac GABA
Bureau d'échange [Exchange Office]: Architecture
2014
Wood table, metal umbrella frame, assorted banknotes, clothespins, rubberbands, architectural souvenirs
table; 32 1/4 x 53 x 29 1/2 inches; 81.9 x 134.6 x 74.9 cm
umbrella; 73 1/2 x 80 x 80 inches; 186.7 x 203.2 x 203.2 cm
overall; 84 x 80 x 80 inches 213.4 x 203.2 x 203.2 cm

slider

Meschac GABA
Bureau d'échange [Exchange Office]: Architecture
2014
(detail)

slider

Meschac GABA
Bureau d'échange [Exchange Office]: Brain, Stone
2014
Wood table, metal umbrella frame, assorted banknotes, clothespins, electroplated gold brain, rocks and brick pieces
table; 32 1/4 x 53 x 29 1/2 inches; 81.9 x 134.6 x 74.9 cm
umbrella; 73 1/2 x 80 x 80 inches; 186.7 x 203.2 x 203.2 cm
overall; 84 x 80 x 80 inches 213.4 x 203.2 x 203.2 cm

slider

Bureau d'échange [Exchange Office]: Brain, Stone
2014
(detail)

slider

Meschac GABA
Unity
2014
foosball table; oil paint, wood, metal and plastic
36 5/8 x 59 x 29 3/4 inches; 93 x 150 x 75.5 cm

slider

Meschac GABA
Souvenir Palace: Iran
2010
billiard table; oil paint, wood, metal and plastic
32 1/4 x 71 1/4 x 37 7/8 inches; 81.9 x 181 x 96.2 cm

slider

Meschac GABA
Bankivi: Lion Bank
2014
Wood, decommissioned Central African (CFA) franc banknotes, plexiglas, assorted coins
34 1/4 x 17 3/8 x 1 inches; 87 x 44 x 2.5 cm

slider

Meschac GABA
Souvenir Palace: Large box 3
2014
wood, metal, elastic, oil paint
8 7/8 x 15 1/4 x 11 3/4 inches; 22.5 x 38.7 x 29.8 cm

slider

Meschac GABA
Souvenir Palace: Coin canister 2
2014
oil paint on metal
8 3/4 x 6 1/8 inches in diameter; 22.2 x 15.6 cm

slider

Meschac GABA
Souvenir Palace: Letter holder 4
2014
oil paint on wood
4 x 8 x 3 inches; 10.2 x 20.3 x 7.6 cm

slider

Meschac GABA
Souvenir Palace, flag hats
2010
15 polyester painted hats
dimensions variable
each hat approximately - 3 1/2 x 9 1/4 x 10 inches; 8.9 x 23.5 x 25.4 cm

Collection Pérez Art Museum Miami

slider

Meschac GABA
Souvenir Palace, flag hats
2010
15 polyester painted hats
dimensions variable
each hat approximately - 3 1/2 x 9 1/4 x 10 inches; 8.9 x 23.5 x 25.4 cm
DETAIL

slider

Meschac GABA
Bequilles Economiques (economical crutches)
2013
children's crutches covered with Francs CFA banknotes
47 1/4 x 7 7/8 inches; 120 x 20 cm

slider

Meschac Gaba
Le Jeu (The Game)
2012

slider

Meschac GABA
Le Jeu (The Game)
2012
1 pair of tennis rackets bound together and covered with Francs CFA banknotes confetti
each racket: 27 1/2 x 19 2/3 x 2 inches; 70 x 50 x 5 cm

slider

Meschac GABA
Le Jeu (The Game)
2012
1 pair of tennis rackets bound together and covered with Francs CFA banknotes confetti
each racket: 27 1/2 x 19 2/3 x 2 inches; 70 x 50 x 5 cm

slider

Meschac GABA
Le Jeu (The Game)
2012
1 pair of tennis rackets bound together and covered with Francs CFA banknotes confetti
each racket: 27 1/2 x 19 2/3 x 2 inches; 70 x 50 x 5 cm
DETAIL

slider

Meschac GABA
Le Jeu (The Game)
2012
1 pair of tennis rackets bound together and covered with Francs CFA banknotes confetti
each racket: 27 1/2 x 19 2/3 x 2 inches; 70 x 50 x 5 cm

slider

Meschac GABA
United Nations - Souvenir Palace
2010
painted table with six chairs
table 30 1/4 x 16 1/8 inches; 77 x 41 cm
six chairs, each approximately 19 3/4 x 7 7/8 x 9 7/8 inches; 50 x 20 x 25 cm

slider

Meschac GABA
La traversée et le capitaine (Horloges des indépendances)
2010
watches, wooden case, glass and wood wall clock
15 x 25 5/8 x 3 1/2 inches; 38.5 x 65 x 9 cm (case)
26 3/8 x 21 5/8 x 2 3/8 inches; 67 x 55 x 6 cm (wall clock)

slider

Meschac GABA
La traversée et le capitaine (Horloges des indépendances)
2010
watches, wooden case, glass and wood wall clock
15 x 25 5/8 x 3 1/2 inches; 38.5 x 65 x 9 cm (case)
26 3/8 x 21 5/8 x 2 3/8 inches; 67 x 55 x 6 cm (wall clock)
DETAIL

slider

Meschac GABA
The Rainbow nation - Souvenir Palace
2010
painted table with six chairs
table - 17 x 31 1/2 inches in diameter; 43 x 80 cm
each chair - 23 5/8 x 11 7/8 x 11 7/8 inches; 60 x 30 x 30 cm
Installation view LIverpool Biennial 2010

slider

Meschac GABA
Architectural wigs
2007-08

slider

Meschac GABA
Metlife Centre Capetown (Architectural wig)
2007
braided wig of synthetic hair
24 1/2 x 8 1/2 x 14 inches; 62.2 x 21.6 x 35.6 cm

slider

Meschac GABA
Metlife Centre Capetown (Architectural wig)
2007
braided wig of synthetic hair
24 1/2 x 8 1/2 x 14 inches; 62.2 x 21.6 x 35.6 cm
DETAIL

slider

Meschac GABA
Milan Chateau d'Eau (Architectural wig)
2008
braided wig of synthetic hair
23 x 10 x 8 inches; 58.4 x 25.4 x 20.3 cm

slider

Meschac GABA
Milan Chateau d'Eau (Architectural wig)
2008
braided wig of synthetic hair
23 x 10 x 8 inches; 58.4 x 25.4 x 20.3 cm
DETAIL

slider

Meschac GABA
Benin Maison Private (Architectural wig)
2008
braided wig of synthetic hair
24 x 9 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches; 61 x 24.1 x 24.1 cm

slider

Meschac GABA
Benin Maison Private (Architectural wig)
2008
braided wig of synthetic hair
24 x 9 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches; 61 x 24.1 x 24.1 cm
DETAIL

slider

Meschac GABA
Glue Me Peace - We beg for Peace
2005
embroidered jute flag backed with colored cotton
73 x 58 inches; 185.4 x 147.3 cm

slider

Meschac GABA
Glue Me Peace - We Beg for Love
2005
embroidered jute flag backed with colored cotton
73 x 58 inches; 185.4 x 147.3 cm

Biography

Since the mid-1990s, Meschac Gaba has investigated constructions of cultural identity along with systems of trade as they relate to exchanges between Africa and the Western world. Addressing ideas of value and revaluation, perceptions of African art, the politics of museum display, and roles of both artist and visitor, Gaba inaugurated his major work, Museum of Contemporary African Art, in 1997. Over a period of five years, the artist progressively installed twelve interactive “rooms” of this nomadic museum at institutions throughout Europe, culminating with his presentation of the final room, the Humanist Space, at dOCUMENTA 11 in 2002. At once critical yet playfully sincere, this project—like much of the artist’s work to follow—addresses and overturns codes of national and shared identity, along with their inherent value, by blurring the political, the artistic, and the everyday. 

 

Born in Cotonou, Benin in 1961, Gaba currently lives and works between Cotonou and Rotterdam. From 1996-1997, he studied at Rijksakademie voor Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam, where he presented the Draft Room, the first installment of his Museum of Contemporary African Art. Other “rooms” of this project include the Museum Shop (first shown at S.M.A.K. in Ghent, Belgium, 1999), Museum Restaurant (W139, Amsterdam, 1999), Game Room (Le Pavé Dans La Mare, Besançon, France, 1999), Library of the Museum (Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art,Rotterdam, 2001), Salon (Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2002), and the Marriage Room, where the artist married his wife during its first presentation at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, 2000. 

The entire work currently belongs to the permanent collection of the Tate Modern, which showed it for the first time in the United Kingdom in 2013. Recent notable exhibitions include the site-specific work Citoyen du Monde at the Socrates Sculpture Park Broadway Billboard on Long Island City, New York (2014) and Meschac Gaba: The Museum of Contemporary African Art, at the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle in Berlin, Germany (2014). 

 

Apart from these exhibitions, Gaba presented major works at the Dutch Pavilion during the 50th Venice Biennial in 2003 and at the 2010 Liverpool Biennial. In 2009, Museum de Paviljoens in the Netherlands opened a survey exhibition of the artist’s work entitled, Museum for Contemporary African Art & More, which traveled to Kunsthalle Fridericianum in Kassel, Germany and to Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno in the Canary Islands through 2010. His work has also been featured at Tate Modern in London, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre in London, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem in the Netherlands, and at MoMA PS1 in New York during his 2003-2004 residency.

Exhibitions
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MESCHAC GABA
22 June - 28 July 2017
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Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle
20 September - 16 November 2014
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Galleries 1 & 2
26 April - 7 June 2014
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9 January - 8 February 2014
Publications