Meschac Gaba's Museum of Contemporary African Art (1997-2002) was acquired by Tate in 2013, and exhibited at Tate Modern the same year, accompanied by this catalogue. Gaba's extraordinary work comprises 12 'rooms', the first of which, the Draft Room, was installed at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam in 1997. This was followed by the Architecture Room (first exhibited 1998); Museum Shop (1999); Game Room (1999-2000); Summer Collection (1998); Museum Restaurant (1999); Music Room (2000); Art and Religion Room (2000); Marriage Room (2000); Library (2001); Salon (2002); and Humanist Space (2002). Each room is meticulously documented, inventoried and photographed as installed at Tate, accompanied by texts by curator Kerryn Greenberg, Chris Dercon, Achille Mbembe, Okwui Enwezor and Rutger Pontzen, as well as the artist.
As Enwezor writes: 'Gaba's museum defies conventional taxonomic logic. His is deliberately organised to overthrow and undermine the rationalist epistemes of the museum, where the display of knowledge takes on an antiseptic, clinical pallor. Rather than composed according to regularities of similar objects, his museum is organised according to the logic of dissimilar but proximate sets of imaginary relationships. In its deliberate informality and lack of order, the museum is marked by rupture, ellipsis, incompleteness, discontinuity and disjunction; and like an open work, it functions as a horizon of the yet to be attained, a play between diverse structures and articulations of difference.'
Published by Tate Publishing | 2013
Hardcover, 144 pages | ISBN 978-1-84976-168-0 | Price: R850