White Cube
by Renzo Martens, Netherlands, Belgium 2020, 79'
SCREENPLAY: Renzo Martens   SOUND: Papy Bambole-Kandole, Dareck Tuba, Philippe Benoit
SHOOTING: Renzo Martens, Dareck Tuba, Hans Bouma, Martin Kramer, Daan Wallis, Remco Bikkers, Louise van Assche, Eric Vander Borght, Jean Counet, Deschamps Matala, Lisa Perez, Boaz van der Spek   PRODUCTION: Pieter van Huystee
EDITING: Boaz van der Spek, Eric Vander Borght, Jos de Putter, Jan de Coster   COPRODUCTION: Inti Films
VOICE OVER: Renzo Martens, Irene Kane, Matthieu Kasiama, Rene Ngongo   DISTRIBUTION: Mokum Film Distribution
LANGUAGE: vo: Lingala, French, Dutch, English; sub: English, Italian     

Schermo dell'Arte - Archivio Film    Presented at the 14th edition of Lo schermo dell'arte, 2021

In his second film dedicated to the Congo, Dutch artist Renzo Martens addresses the plight of palm oil plantation workers and the relationship between colonialism and the art world. After the film Enjoy Poverty (2008) in which he encouraged the Congolese to economically exploit their condition of poverty by making it the subject of photographic reports, Martens returns to the African country to find a way to free workers from the subjection of the intensive farming multinationals. In an attempt to revive the economy of small communities through creativity and art, White Cube follows a group of Congolese who undertake a series of sculpture workshops to give shape to their own artistic potential. Following an idea by Martens, the sculptures are made of chocolate using locally grown cocoa, and finally exhibited in New York. The film also reports that, thanks to the profits from the sales of the exhibition, the workers were able to buy back the land confiscated from them. Following this experience, the Lusanga International Research Center for Art and Economic Inequality (LIRCAEI) was born in a former palm oil plantation in the heart of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a cultural space capable of generating both economic and artistic value for local communities. Designed by OMA, the studio of Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, this extraordinary and hardly accessible art center takes the essential form of the white cube.

Renzo Martens 
Terneuzen 1973, lives and works between Amsterdam, Brussels and Kinshasa. In 2010 he founded the Institute for Human Activities (IHA) which operates in Congolese palm oil plantations. He exhibited, in collaboration with the IHA, at: WIELS, Brussels (2021); Museum De Fundatie, Zwolle (2019); Sculpture Center, New York (2017).

Selected Filmography
2008 Enjoy Poverty


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