ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art, 09|17|2011 – 02|05|2012
Pieter Hugo
* 1976 in Johannesburg (ZA), lives and works in Cape Town (ZA)

, 2008

For his predominantly documentary, sometimes staged photo series, South African photographer Pieter Hugo often draws on his subjects from the margins of African society. In the photo series Nollywood, he deals with a rare instance of mass-medial African self-representation.
Following Bollywood and Hollywood, Nollywood is the third biggest film industry in the world; under the most rudimentary technical conditions, such as the use of DV camcorders, and with minimal budgets and production times, up to 2,000 films are produced for Africans by Africans annually. In formats such as VHS, VCD, and DVD, these films are distributed en masse mainly around Nigeria and West Africa, and play a central role in the everyday life of these countries. Rooted in local imagery, with their “trashy,” shrill splatter aesthetics, and realistic yet dramatically overdone and excessive plots about love, religion, violence, civil war, prostitution, politics, corruption, and postcolonial conflicts, they enjoy consistent popularity across various social milieus.
After Hugo’s initial attempts to take pictures during shooting sessions on film sets failed because of the chaotic bustle of everyday production, he began to reenact typical Nollywood sets and themes in a quasi-documentary manner with actors. Thus, there arose vivid portraits of intense theatrical moments in a process of collective imagination, in which cinematic fiction is scarcely distinguishable from social reality. At the same time, Hugo ironizes the common African stereotypes and their photographic representations – letting the people he portrays look back, unruffled, at the viewer. (AM)



, 2008
Photo series, selection of 8 C-prints, 102 × 102 cm each (110 × 110 cm framed)
Einzeltitel (v. l.): 28. Escort Kama, Enugu, Nigeria, 2008; 10. Chris Nkulo and Patience Umeh, Enugu, Nigeria, 2008; 43. Emeka Onu,Enugu, Nigeria, 2008; 29. Obechukwu Nwoye, Enugu, Nigeria, 2008; 55. Pieter Hugo, Enugu, Nigeria, 2009; 39. Princess Adaobi, Enugu, Nigeria, 2008; 51. Fidelis Elenwa, Enugu, Nigeria, 2009; 16. Mr. Enblo, Enugu, Nigeria, 2008