Medium: Installation; video+sound; plastercast, textile
Duration: 09:34 min.
In the work I collaborated with the plaster cast workshop of the Royal Museum of History and Art in Brussels, which has one of the biggest art and archaeological casts collections in Europe. The work consists of a film and an object and tells the story of a network of traveling moulds between the colonizer (Leopold II) and its former colony (Congo).
Moulds of Western art were exported to the colony and moulds taken from people by anthropologists were transported to Europe. Leopold II was an excessive collector of plaster copies of famous sculptures from the classical era and renaissance in support of his cruel imperialism. In 1913 Leopold II commissioned artist Arsene Matton to set up a studio in Congo to copy people in support of his racist evolutionary theory. The 144 casts are now in the collection of The Royal Museum for Central Africa. One of the copies Matton made ended up in the archaeology depot where I stumbled upon it and started researching its history.
The museum helped me reproduce it. In the installation below the gaze of looking is reversed; the cast is given the same view as the spectator both looking at the film where the mould function as an unsolvable puzzle.
Prosthetics, film still, 2017