Pieter Hugo’s Nollywood

A few weeks ago, i read in exibart that South African photographer Pieter Hugo was having a solo show at extraspazio in Rome.

0alesbullfighter7.jpgGabazzini Zuo. Enugu, Nigeria, 2008

Because seeing his work on my computer screen is not good enough i decided to take advantage of Trenitalia’s new ‘super fast’ trains and booked a little trip to sunny and warmish Rome. Bad idea! The terms “super fast trains” have to be taken with a pinch of salt, 70% of them reach their destination with delay, sometimes with very cruel delays as i had the pleasure to experience. I arrived in town on the 6th but everything was closed because of some Catholic feast. Everything but the shops that is. Even the Pope is powerless in front of consumerism. On the 7th the gallery opened at 3.30 pm but i was already on my way to see another exhibition in Florence. ¡Ay que dolor!

0aa3mommmie8.jpgTarry King Ibuzo. Enugu, Nigeria, 2008

So here’s what i missed in Rome: Hugo’s series dedicated to the Nigerian film industry. Nollywood is one of the largest film industries in the world, releasing onto the home video market approximately 1000 movies each year. Directors need only one week and up to 20,000 euros to pack a movie shock full of romance, comedy, voodoo curses, bribery, prostitution, and sometimes all of that together. The scripts are basic, the actors cast the day of the shooting, the sets are always on location and often improvised.

0adevantlecoso0.jpgEmeka Uzzi. Enugu, Nigeria, 2009

0aaflipflop90.jpgIbegbu Natty. Enugu, Nigeria, 2008

0amlamanim4ain.jpgPrincess Adaobi. Enugu, Nigeria, 2008

Hugo asked a team of actors and assistants to recreate Nollywood myths and symbols as if they were on movie sets. The photos document thus nothing but the fiction of creating badass fiction.

More pictures. Video of a talk that Franco Sacchi, director of the 2007 documentary This Is Nollywood, gave about Nollywood