Can the working class benefit from art instead of being victimised by it through gentrification?
The White Cube, by Renzo Martens. The Netherlands, Belgium, 2020. 79'. Madrid premiere
In his new and provocative documentary, Renzo Martens takes a radical look at his own presence in a social experiment set in a Congolese plantation, drawing our attention to the often ignored links between colonialism and the art world. The film revolves around the intriguing story of Mathieu Kasiama and a group of plantation workers who make clay sculptures of themselves.
Born in 1973 in the Netherlands, Renzo Martens is an artist and film-maker as well as co-founder and director of the Institute for Human Activities (IHA). With a nod at the precedents established in cities like New York and Berlin, the IHA’s mission is to turn the production of art into a driver of economic growth in the Congo in the hope of improving the lives of the people around the institute. Martens has achieved recognition for works such as Episode III: Enjoy Poverty (2008), a documentary that suggests that the Congo markets its poverty as a natural resource. Renzo’s films have been screened at the Sixth Berlin Biennale, Tate Modern in London, Centre Pompidou in Paris, Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven, Kunsthaus in Graz and Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, as well as at numerous film festivals.
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