Statues Also Die - But Their Death is not the Final Word

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Matthias De Groof


Abstract (E): Along with people like Césaire, Sartre and Howlett, Chris Marker cherished in 1953 the hope that African artefacts would be removed from the museum. In the film Les Statues meurent aussi (‗Statues Also Die‘ 1950-53) Marker as director and writer, accompanied by Resnais as co-director, Ghislain Cloquet as cameraman and Guy Bernard as composer, took up the mission to challenge the prevailing gaze on African artefacts. How does Marker‘s Les Statues meurent aussi look upon African art?
Abstract (F): À l‘instar de personnes comme Césaire, Sartre et Howlett, Chris Marker cultiva l‘espoir en 1953 que les artefacts africains puissent sortir du strict cadre des musées. Dans le film Les Statues meurent aussi (1950-53), Marker, en tant que réalisateur et scénariste, secondé par Resnais, comme co-réalisateur, Ghislain Cloquet comme directeur de la photographie et Guy Bernard comme compositeur, se donna pour mission de contester le regard figé prédominant sur les artefacts africains. Quel regard porte sur l‘art africain Les statues meurent aussi de Marker ?

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Matthias De Groof

Matthias De Groof (°1981) researches the tension between alterity and identity in (self-)representation of Africa. He researched this topic on various levels. He wrote his Master thesis in Philosophy on the epistemological fundaments of western representational systems, more specifically of the European conception of black Africa. Afterwards he studied International Relations (UCL), African Studies (UMU-Kampala) and Film Studies and Visual Culture. His thesis for Film Studies – which won a development price – investigates the aesthetics of African films, and the way in which they respond to the western gaze on Africa. He therefore participated in various international workshops and seminars about African Film. Within the context of these academic inquiries, Matthias undertook various research travels to Central Africa including several video-, photo- and film realisations. He is currently doing a PhD-research on African cinema.