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Biennale Bénin 2012

Biennale Bénin 2012

Cotonou, Porto-Novo, Ouidah, Abomey

8 November 2012 - 13 January 2013

Artistic director: Abdellah Karroum

Associate Curator for Special Projects:
Didier Houénoudé

List of artists

Photo Tour ►

Inventing the World: The Artist as Citizen

From 8 November 2012 to 13 January 2013, the Biennale Bénin takes place in 4 cities in Benin: Cotonou, Porto Novo, Ouidah, and Abomey, under the artistic direction of Abdellah Karroum.

Inventing the World: The Artist as Citizen takes public initiatives that have occurred in Benin in recent years such as Meschac Gaba’s Musée de l’Art et de la Vie Active (MAVA) and Zinkpè’s Boulev’art as a starting point to interrogate the notion of the artist as citizen both as an aesthetic idea and an ethical project.

In his curatorial statement, Abdellah Karroum explains: "By observing the expressive forms of the contemporary era, on the African continent and elsewhere, and that of the Generation 00 in the transition to the 21st century, the Biennale Bénin 2012 interrogates the notion of the artist as citizen in its active, social, and aesthetic dimensions. Art’s vocabulary is inscribed in a multiple temporality, between a nomadic imaginary and real presences in the world, between invention and action. It is this correspondence between creative universes and exterior encounters that the work’s sense is formulated, from an aesthetic idea to an ethical proposal."

Biennale Bénin 2012 presents new commissions and existing works by 36 artists as part of the international exhibition at Centre Kora, a former commercial center in Cotonou.

The event also features nearly a hundred additional artists in the Special Projects, Encounters and Workshops:

Special Projects
Produced by Beninese art organizations the projects take place in Cotonou, Abomey, Porto-Novo and Ouidah across a variety of sites and under different formats. Associate Curator: Didier Houénoudé.


#1 Recovering an Art School. Centre Songhaï, Porto-Novo, 4 - 7 November 2012. Associate Curator Anne Szefer Karlsen.

#2 Case Studies for a Genealogy of Performance Art in Benin and Beyond. Unik – Lieu de Création Contemporaine, Abomey, 10 November 2012. Associate Curator Claire Tancons.

#3 The Artist Studio and Urban Space: Geography, History, Intervention. Centre Kora, Cotonou, December 2012 - January 2013. Associate Curator Olivier Marboeuf.

Co-published with Silvana Editoriale, the bilingual French-English catalogue will include texts by the BB12 curatorial team and commissioned essays, illustrations of the artists’ works, archival images from Benin, documentation from the biennial-making process, etc.

Four journals will be published by different members of the Curatorial Delegation in collaboration with invited contributors. The November 2012 issue will be published in partnership with Le Quotidien de l’Art.

With a studio at Centre Kora and a mobile studio covering BB12’s other venues and staffed with BB12 curators and journalists from partner radios including France Culture and Radio Tokpa, R22-Bénin / RBB will broadcast a wide variety of programs.

More information about exhibitions, workshops, encounters, publications, radio, activities:

(From press information)

Examples from the photo tour:

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