Stephan Köhler,
chairman of the association Regard Benin

What came out of it
The artist group from the HFBK Hamburg University of Fine Arts. Eylien König, Martina Mahlknecht, Doris M. Schmidt and Martin Prinoth formed in Benin the group called YovoYovo ( and were invited by Yuko Hasegawa, who came to the opening in Benin in November, to the Sharjah Biennial with their cross-cultural research called “Enframing Home”.

Yuki Asai is organizing an exhibition in Japan with Daphné Bitchatch, Zon Sakai, Francois-Xavier Gbré and Tara Mahapatra. - Daphné Bitchatch introduced Christelle Yaovi and Zon Sakai to the Bakou Art Festival. She also wrote two essays on her experience of  working with other artists in the space of the National Print Shop in Porto Novo, and at the center of Kulturforum Süd-Nord in Togbin Plage. They can be found on our websites.

Séraphin Zounyekpe was nominated for an artist in residence program in Stockholm and for an international photo award. - Christelle Yaovi, herself a painter and artist of the Biennial, began to curate exhibitions in various venues in Cotonou.

Romuald Tchibozo, professor of Art History at UAC wrote texts on the process of appropriating public space and on the installation "Sur les pavés, la plage" by Gerrit Frohne-Brinkmann, Philip Pichler, Rebekka Seubert. - Each art-history student team member wrote a text on their experience of working for one year with Kulturforum Süd-Nord on Take, Take, Take and..? in the context of the Biennale Regard Benin 2012.  A selection of their texts is posted on our website.

What could be next:
We suggest a platform in various locations that could be called “Biennale Regard Benin On the Road” in order to discuss the potential and the problems of a periodical contemporary art event in Benin from a variety of perspectives.This traveling forum could yield new ideas and be more effective and creative than a discussion of the same themes in an environment of conflicting interests in Benin. We are hoping that far away from local art-politics, new ideas and impulses which are relevant to the free development of artistic research and practice can come up more easily. We think it is worthwhile to try it out: our idea is to develop concepts in this laboratory on the move by involving artists and cultural agents from Benin at each location and by engaging with various artists, curators and audiences from different cities, thus opening up new perspectives that become complimentary and reinforce an open forum in Benin that distances itself from local lobbying and polarization. At the same time, this process can be a worthwhile inquiry about the meaning of the growing number of Biennials and other periodical art events in general.

In our opinion, it is essential to protect the original concept of a decentralized event and not allow for it to become a monument for only one dominating part of society. The reference to the work “Wild Cube” of Lois Weinberger, an iron cage in public space that allows seeds but not humans to enter and unfold freely, might be appropriate.
We plan to hold the “Biennale Regard Benin On the Road” events in Abidjan, Berlin, Munich, Johannesburg, Lagos, London, Nagoya, Paris other places where our partners are willing to collaborate to make this happen. They will consist of exhibitions with extensions of the projects started in Benin and new proposals for artistic research, debates and workshops on the various aspects of what a Biennial in Benin might mean to the regional art scene and audiences from close and far. Please use our blog on or our Facebook page to share your ideas.

In 2013/14 Kulturforum Süd-Nord will support artistic research on traditional gender roles, alternative scenarios and new perspectives for human interactions.

Published by: © Kulturforum Süd-Nord and Regard Benin May 2013
Editors: Stephan Köhler with Tara Mahapatra

Design: Alexandra Bauch
Printed in Germany

articles associés
Entretien avec Ousmane Alédji (Directeur Exécutif de la Biennale Regard Bénin)

Lettre ouverte au Président de la République
Newsletter de Artisttik Africa
Nouvelle version du journal officiel de la biennale