Born in Cotonou, Benin in 1961, Meschac Gaba moved to the Netherlands in 1996 to take up a residency at the Rijksakademie.
It was there that he conceived The Museum of Contemporary African Art 1997-2002, an ambitious work, which took him five years to complete and which cemented his reputation as one of the most important African artists working today.
Consisting of twelve sections - Draft Room, Architecture, Museum Shop, Summer Collection, Games Room, Art and Religion, Museum Restaurant, Music Room, Marriage Room, Library, Salon and Humanist Space - this work challenges preconceived notions of what African art is and provides a new discursive space for social and cultural interaction, critiquing the museum's value both as an institution, and as a symbol of cultural capital. The importance of this work, in the history of African art and in the lineage of critical reflections on the museum by artists such as Marcel Duchamp and Marcel Broodthaers, has been widely acknowledged in important exhibitions ranging from Documenta XI, Kassel in 2002 to Intense Proximity: La Triennale, Paris in 2012.
Tate has now acquired this work. This book will be published on the occasion of the first presentation of Gaba's Museum of Contemporary African Art in its entirety in the UK.
Contributions by leading scholars will place this important work in the context of the artist's oeuvre, art history and museology.