Wild realities and strange mythologies: The visceral beauty of Pieter Hugo’s vision
05.10.2012
02:41 pm

Topics:
Animals
Art
Environment
Movies
Pop Culture

Tags:
Pieter Hugo


 
While we have featured the work of Pieter Hugo here on Dangerous Minds in the past, I thought I’d pull it all together into one piece so that those of you who are not familiar with this amazing artist’s work could experience it now.

There aren’t enough adjectives in my vocabulary to do justice to the photography of Pieter Hugo. “Powerful,” “disturbing,” “visceral,” “empathetic,” “sad,” and “beautiful” are all appropriately descriptive, but the term “a picture is worth a thousand words” has never been truer than in case of this South African’s visual genius. So I’ll let the pictures do the talking after I share a bit of background on Hugo’s work  

In the series “The Hyenas and Other Men,” Hugo documents the Gadawan Kura’ (hyena handlers/guides) who live in the shanty towns of Lagos, Nigeria and make a living by performing on the streets with hyenas that they’ve captured in the wild.
 

 
Hugo describes encountering and working with the hyena handlers:

In Abuja we found them living on the periphery of the city in a shantytown - a group of men, a little girl, three hyenas, four monkeys and a few rock pythons. It turned out that they were a group of itinerant minstrels, performers who used the animals to entertain crowds and sell traditional medicines. The animal handlers were all related to each other and were praising a tradition passed down from generation to generation. I spent eight days traveling with them.

In another series of photographs, Hugo evokes aspects of Nigerian films (Nollywood) in haunting photographs that recreate the surreality of cultures intermingling - Hollywood pop iconography (particularly horror imagery) mashed-up with Africa’s long and deep traditions of myth-making. Sometimes the lie is truer than the truth in these tableaus in which Hugo…

[...] asked a team of actors and assistants to recreate Nollywood myths and symbols as if they were on movie sets, Hugo initiated the creation of a verisimilar reality.”

 

 

 

As if Hugo’s photographs weren’t testimony enough to his extraordinary talents, he directed a very very cool video, Control...

[...] a “darkwave township house” cover of the Joy Division classic “She’s Lost Control” – is the fourth single to be taken from South African producer/DJ Spoek Mathambo’s album, Mshini Wam. The video was shot in Langa, Cape Town was made using a cast made up mainly of kids from the local dance troupe, Happy Feet.”

If you’re as impressed by these photos and video (how could you not be?), check out Hugo’s website where you can feast your eyes on more of his amazing visual gift.
 

 
More of Hugo’s photography after the jump…

Written by Marc Campbell | Discussion
Control: Spoek Mathambo & Pieter Hugo team up for wild Joy Division cover/video
02.22.2011
10:49 am

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:
Joy Division
Pieter Hugo
Spoek Mathambo
Control

image
 
We’ve posted before about both South African artist Spoek Mathambo and amazing photographer Pieter Hugo (his book Nollywood is sitting on a coffeetable 10 feet away from me as I type this) and wow, their new collobaoration on this video for Spoek’s fucking brilliant cover of Joy Division’s “She’s Lost Control” is nothing short of simply astonishing.

You think there’s nothing new under the sun, jaded reader? That every good idea has already been used up by music video directors? Guess again because this will knock your socks off!

Via Dazed Digital:

‘Control’, the fourth single from Spoek Mathambo‘s debut album Mshini Wam, is a ‘darkwave township house’ cover of the Joy Division classic ‘She’s Lost Control’. In collaboration with one of South Africa’s most influential photographers Pieter Hugo, and cinematographer Michael Cleary, the new video explores township cults and teen gangs. Shot on location in a squatted train boarding house in Langa, Cape Town, the video features a cast mostly made up of local neighborhood kids who run their own dance troop, Happy Feet. Spoek Mathambo has been pioneering a progressive take on African music for the last few years via his DJing (as HIVIP), solo and live band projects, having featured on Boysnoize Records and Top Billin.

Directed and shot by Pieter Hugo & Michael Cleary. Edited by Richard Starkey

 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Voodoo Dubstep: Cape Town, South Africa’s rising star, Spoek Mathambo

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Pieter Hugo signs his Nollywood book at Yossi Milo Gallery
04.07.2010
08:50 pm

Topics:
Art

Tags:
Pieter Hugo
Nollywood

image
 
Of interest to our NYC-dwelling readers: Tomorrow, Thursday, April 8, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm there will be an artist’s reception & book signing for Pieter Hugo’s exhibition at the Yossi Milo Gallery at 525 West 25th Street. The show will be on view through April 17th.

Hugo will be signing copies of his amazing book Nollywood book. Tara and I have a copy of this on our coffee table and we both really love it.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Nollywood: Nightmarish Photographs by Pieter Hugo

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Nollywood: Nightmarish Photographs by Pieter Hugo
08.08.2009
09:34 am

Topics:
Art
Movies

Tags:
Pieter Hugo
Nollywood

image

 

The Nigerian feature film industry is sometimes known as Nollywood. Here’s Pieter Hugo’s inspiration for the spectacular images of The Cinema of Nigeria:

In his travels through West Africa, Hugo has been intrigued by this distinct style in constructing a fictional world where everyday and unreal elements intertwine.

By asking a team of actors and assistants to recreate Nollywood myths and symbols as if they were on movie sets, Hugo initiated the creation of a verisimilar reality.

His vision of the film industry?

Written by Tara McGinley | Discussion