Yossi Milo presents Nollywood, South African artist Pieter Hugo's second solo show with the gallery. According to the show's press release, the title was taken "from one of the three largest film industries in the world, 'Nollywood' in Nigeria (which is larger than Hollywood and second to Bollywood, according to 2009 UNESCO report.)" Who knew?! Also from the press release, "Nollywood produces over 1000 low-budget, straight-to-video films a year," typically "macabre" and/or "melodramatic" in nature, with story lines focusing on "romance, extortion, prostitution, witchcraft, or religion."
Hugo's large-scale photos were taken in Enugu and Asaba, film production centers located in southern Nigeria. The works feature costumed actors reenacting scenes from Nollywood films—"staged images, which recall film production stills, are the artist's interpretations of the iconic myths and symbols that characterize Nollywood movies." Judging by the photos which include a topless woman stabbing herself in the chest; an unclothed man wearing only a Darth Vader helmet; a man gutting a bull; and a pensive-looking man inexplicably covered in long, black hair; these films look both disturbing and fascinating. The mysterious images act as "portraits on the border between documentary and fiction."
Hugo presents compelling and cryptic scenes that pique viewers' interest and leaves them wanting more of the stories (or some sort of explanation) that come from this booming, prolific film market. Learn more at Yossimilo.com and at the artist's website Pieterhugo.com. Through April 10th.