Tate Modern Level 2 Gallery
24 June – 21 August 2005
Glue Me Peace is a new installation by West African artist Meschac Gaba created for Tate Modern’s Level 2 Gallery, a space dedicated to emerging international artists.
Inspired by The Nobel Peace Prize, Gaba uses seven video screens and a jukebox to present visual and audio material of winners’ speeches dating back to 1901, when the first award was made. Taken from the archives of the Nobel Foundation, these speeches provide a fascinating insight into the history of the prize, which arguably is as much a history of twentieth-century conflict as it is a story for charity efforts for peace.
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of five Nobel prizes to be awarded every year. Established by the Norwegian Alfred Nobel in his will in 1895, the prize for peace is awarded to the person who “shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding of peace congresses….by a committee of five persons to be elected by the Norwegian Storting (parliament)”. Award-winners have been figures from all over the world and include individuals such as Wangari Maathai from Kenya in 2004 as well as famous international leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr in 1964, Nelson Mandela in 1993 and US Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger in 1973, one of the most controversial awards in the history of the Peace Prize.
In addition to the audio-visual elements of the installation, Gaba has created two flags with messages of peace adorned with various coins, an ongoing motif in his artwork. In the foyer of the exhibition, Gaba has made a table and chair decorated with symbols of peace. Visitors are invited to leave a message relating to the topic of peace, which will then be posted on the gallery wall. In return they will receive a poster designed by Gaba. This features the names of all the winners alongside flags indicating their nationality, offering a visual record of the fluctuations in international relations that have shaped the outcome of the awards.
Meschac Gaba was born in 1961 in Cotonou, Benin, West Africa. In 1997 Gaba moved from Cotonou to Amsterdam to study at the Rijksakademie. His emergence in the international art scene came with his twelve part project The Museum of Contemporary African Art, 1997-2001 which concluded at Documenta XI, Kassel and now can be viewed online (www.museumofcontemporaryafricanart.com). He was included in the Dutch Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, 2003 and has had solo exhibitions at numerous international museums. His work was recently on display in London as part of Africa Remix at the Hayward Gallery, now at Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.
This exhibition, curated by Ben Borthwick of Tate Modern, is the first in the new series for the Level 2 Gallery, commissioned by series curator Jessica Morgan. A leaflet featuring a short essay by Ben Borthwick is available. This exhibition coincides with Africa 05 during which there will be a number of events held at Tate. After Tate Modern, the exhibition will travel to the recently opened Nobel Peace Center, Oslo, designed by British architect David Adjaye.