November 6, 2012 - Biennale Regard Benin - Inventing the World: The Artist as Citizen
November 6, 2012

Inventing the World: The Artist as Citizen

The first billboards in Cotonou announcing the Biennale Regard Benin 2012. Courtesy archive Biennale Regard Benin. Photo: s.koehler.

Biennale Regard Benin 2012
Inventing the World: The Artist as Citizen

November 8, 2012–January 13, 2013

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November 8, noon: The National Print Shop in Porto Novo
November 9, 16h: Cotonou, down town shopwindows of the Ganhi area
November 10, noon: Kulturforum – Togbin Beach and 18:30h, Centre Culturel ArtisttiK Africa Cotonou-Agla  
November 11, 17h: CFAO Motors Bénin

Artistic directors: Abdellah Karroum, Didier Houénoudé and Stephan Köhler
The committee of Art History Students of the University UAC Cotonou
Curatorial Advisors: Georges Adéagbo, Yuki Asai (Japan) and Ricardo Sardenberg (Brazil)
Executive Directors: Dominique Zinkpè and Ousmane Aledji 
Scientific Advisor: Romuald Tchibozo 

“Inventing the World” is the modest theme of the first official edition of the Biennale Regard Benin, which had informally premiered in June 2010 on the 50th Anniversary of Independence of the Republic of Benin. The Biennial Regard Benin breaks with the conventions of curatorial branding by renouncing the vertical structure of inviting a general commissioner with a top-down curated exhibition. Purposely risking the label of dilettantism, the event will be unfolded by a local team of operators who will have occasional exchange with distant, yet close advisors. The noble sense of Lévi-Strauss’s term bricolage might be the most appropriate way to describe this new format. Based on the successful, innovative nature of this pilot event, participating members of a federation of a dozen independent art spaces and their activities founded the nonprofit association Biennale Regard Benin in March 2011, which organizes this edition with a balanced network of partners. Therefore the name of this event remains unchanged as Biennale Regard Benin, as decreed by the Minister of culture of Benin in May 2012.

All exhibitions and components of the Biennale Regard Benin are “international” and “special” in the true sense of the word. They encourage dialogues of local artists and researchers and those who come from far away and are open to the public free of charge. 

1. Kulturforum Süd-Nord features the theme show Take, Take, Take and..?—artists reflecting on the overexploitation of natural resources in several zones: 

Porto Novo:  The National Printshop of Benin
In the historical halls of the print shop, amidst old Heidelberger machines: José Bento, Daphne Bitchatch, Théodore Dakpogan, Cecilia Edefalk, Harun Farocki, Carlos Garaicoa, Isaac Julien, Christiane Löhr, Tara Mahapatra, and Christelle Yaovi. 

Atlantica, NKA, Chimurenga, various publications of the Prins Claus Fund and artists books by CTL Press will be for the first time available to the Benin public in the type setting area of workshop.

Cotonou, City Center 
In the windows of several shops, close to the public and public areas: A collaboration in neon by Alfredo Jaar with Georges Adéagbo, Francois-Xavier Gbré, Los Carpinteros, Sayoko Oguri, Seraphin Zounyekpe, Radovan Cerevka and Clemencia Labin. Zon Sakai will perform his sculptures made of inner tubes all over Cotonou and on the UAC campus. 

The American Cultural Center Cotonou
Will feature the works of Aboudia, Seraphin Zounyekpe  and Christelle Yaovi 

Campus UAC 
Jonathan Terranova 
A visual representation of The Academy of Fine Arts Hamburg, HFBK Hamburg

Togbin Plage
On the beach and in the space of Kulturforum Süd-Nord: Georges Adéagbo, Francois-Xavier Gbré, Siri Hermansen, Lois Weinberger, Sayako Oguri and Zon Sakai 

Five Projects by the Academy of fine arts Hamburg HFBK
Fourteen students from Hamburg create interactive installations in public spaces in Porto Novo, Cotonou, and the coastal communities. Please follow up on our website. 

2. Artisttik Africa, (Ousmane Aledji) presents the following events under the theme “living arts”:  
- FIRE  Incendie  with Cécile Borne and Julien Vignikin. 
- THE NAME of THE CODE with seven artists from Benin, Nigeria, Ghana, and Togo on how to share water and electricity in African Cities. 
- AQA = Agla Qartier de l’Art Agla Quartier de l’Art a network of art works in public in the ward of West Cotonou Agla. Guide map to find the places available. 
- The nights of Flouminisme: November 8th, December 25th, and January 10th, 2013. 

3. The Porto Novo Artists’ Collective, (Donatien Alihounou) presents 
- Planet Porto-Novo, 9 artists of the collective will create a series of works in the Palais King Honmè, the Botanical garden, the Esplanade of the National Assembly. 
On sharing natural ressources and making the community work. 

4. Partenaires Jeune (Eric Todan) presents
- the Art of the Word meeting visual Art – an encounter of story-tellers and visual artists. 

5. Art Club presents
Atelier AWO & exposition: Simplice Ahouansou and the children analyzing the role of communication technology in daily life. Various venues to be announced on our website. 

Tara Mahapatra hosts a workshop of artists’ video production in Porto Novo, National Printshop on November 9 to 12. Alice Creischer and Andreas Siekmann will hold a modeling clay animation film workshop on land-grabbing in December.  

Conferences Guided Tours 
A public symposium of Students of the HFBK Hamburg and UAC took place on Campus UAC October 29th. Guided Tours for each venue twice a week are offered by the art history students of UAC university.

The Radio Univers, run by Honoré Dossou with students of the University UAC Cotonou, follows the artists while installing and the events of the Biennale Regard Benin with daily reports. 

The Journal of the Biennale Regard Bénin will be printed by the National Printshop of Benin. The art-history Students of the UAC contribute several texts on the artists and the Biennial Regard Benin. Maps will help to orientate the visitors to the many venues. The Journal will be free of charge. A catalogue will be published with the photos of the new site specific works and processes leading to them. 

international press contact:
Katharina Knieß: T +49 89 49049843 /
Request a link to the dropbox folder with press material. 



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