Mathieu Abonnenc’s exhibition [fr]
As part of Images Festival, French artist Mathieu Abonnenc presents an exhibition until April 26 at YYZ. Cinéma chez les balantes explores the production of images in the context of a revolutionary moment, and the subsequent recirculation and function of those images in the present.
Mathieu Abonnenc’s exhibition is centered on what should have been the first feature film directed by Sarah Maldoror, a French filmmaker of Guadeloupean descent who was a pioneering voice in the production of anti-colonialist films in Lusophone Africa in the 1960s and 70s. Des Fusils pour Banta (Guns for Banta) was commissioned by the Algerian government, which hoped to use it as a propaganda tool for the independence struggle against Portuguese colonial rule. Before its completion, the film was confiscated by the Algerian government because of Maldoror’s insistence on retaining full control over its final edit. As a result, the film never saw the light of day.
Foreward to Guns for Banta, a 35mm slide projection, uses photographs from the production of Des Fusils pour Banta with an audio montage composed from conversations between Abonnenc and Maldoror.
The exhibition also includes a series of other print-based elements extending this archival research: a collaboration with the artist Clément Rodzielski consisting of two found and altered Romanian posters for Maldoror’s best-known film, Sambizanga; and a pamphlet which collects the writings of Suzan Lipinska, the photographer who accompanied Maldoror during the shooting of her film.