Tanya Bonakdar Gallery is pleased to announce its second solo exhibition with Meschac Gaba. The exhibition will weave together three main bodies of work, forging at once a meditative reflection and a powerful commentary on issues concerning contemporary cultural identity, and especially the current state of immigrants and refugees.
Since the late 1990s, inspired by his own experiences living in the Netherlands and Benin, Gaba has navigated and closely examined national and transnational identity constructs under the tumult of present day globalization. By playfully restructuring relationships between the Western world and developing worlds, the local and the global, art and the everyday, Gaba brings into question dominant codes and frameworks of identity and value.
For this exhibition, the artist will present a large-scale, multi-colored, participatory work entitled Reflection Room Tent. Evoking an immediate impression of the refugee camps that house the diasporic and displaced, the tent’s vibrant patterns, however, embody Gaba’s hopeful concept of Citoyen du Monde—an envisioned global flag consisted of a union of elongated individual world flags.
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 instalment 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.
Founded in 1994, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery opened at 130 Prince Street in New York City’s Soho neighborhood, where it remained until relocating to 521 West 21st Street in Chelsea in 1998. Following a major renovation in the spring of 2006, the gallery doubled in size by acquiring 5,000 square feet along the ground-floor of its existing location, expanding its exhibition capabilities as well as its programming. Since its early years, the gallery has launched and fostered the careers of a key group of international artists that include Martin Boyce, Sandra Cinto, Mat Collishaw, Olafur Eliasson, Teresa Hubbard/Alexander Birchler, Carla Klein, Ernesto Neto, Rivane Neuenschwander, Susan Philipsz, Analia Saban, Tomas Saraceno, and Thomas Scheibitz, providing all of them with their first solo exhibitions in New York and, for many, their respective debuts in the United States. With a growing roster that now includes figures like Phil Collins, Mark Dion, Meschac Gaba, Mark Manders, Haim Steinbach, Sarah Sze, and Gillian Wearing, the gallery continues to support the careers and work of its artists in dialogue with audiences and institutions around the world.