Esther Schipper is glad to present the fifth solo show by RothStauffenberg.
The combination of installation and objects in the exhibition refers to a specific context in film history and continues the artists! engagement with the film medium.
The gallery!s darkened main room contains Mobile Cinema (2009), a two-part installation in wood and linen. The film program selected by the artists shows different parts of the feature film “Das Königreich von Mozartbique” (The Kingdom of Mozartbique) plus thematically related productions.* The film was made in 2007, mostly at the Grande Hotel in Beira, Mozambique!s second-largest city. Built in the 1950s, the hotel with its 370 rooms was the largest on the African continent. It closed after just a few years and has been squatted since the early 1980s. Today, it is still home to 3000 people. During the film, the hotel!s residents tell fictitious stories. They exchange masks, wigs and costumes, and stage themselves in a succession of different roles. Together with the music and the commentary, the images develop a new fiction and aesthetic, creating an essay film with clearly posed segments.
At the same time, the installation refers to the development of the film industry in Mozambique. The country gained independence in 1975 and became a socialist people!s republic under President Samora Machel. He invited filmmakers like Shin Jun-chul and Ruy Guerra, as well as the French directors Jean Rouch and Jean-Luc Godard, to work at the newly founded National Film Institute (INAC) in Maputo to help establish an independent film industry.**
Samora Machel placed his hopes in the power of images to spread the idea of a Marxist Mozambique throughout the country. Trucks drove from village to village, projecting the films of the Kuxa Kanema on village squares at night. In this way, the idea of the “New Man” was spread, at the same time as giving the population a sense of shared culture.
From the ceiling of the second room hang four casts of one of the wigs (Neon, 2009) that were the most popular of the many masks and disguises. Especially the leaders of groups or clans often selected a crown-like Neon wig.
For the «Cartes Postales» exhibition, RothStauffenberg have designed a pamphlet to be printed in an edition of 100 copies, containing transcripts of the voiceover from the film, as well as historical image material and text excerpts.
The exhibition title is a reference to Jean Rouch, who referred to the Super-8 films he shot in Mozambique as Cartes Postales, postcards sent by people who could neither read nor write.