White Cube, dir. Renzo Martens, 2020, English, Lingala and French with English subtitles
The ICA is thrilled to present a special preview of Dutch artist Renzo Martens’ White Cube, a powerful and provocative dissection of art, class and decolonisation.
White Cube follows the Cercle d’Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise (CATPC), a plantation workers’ cooperative based on a former Unilever plantation in the Congolese town of Lusanga, as they attempt to end the destructive system of monoculture on their lands – by building upon it a gallery, the ‘white cube’ of the title.
By presenting and selling art within this new space, the collective attempt to raise sufficient finances to buy back their land from international plantation companies – and secure it for future generations. From the violence of the plantation system to the aesthetics of the gallery, this multi-layered and fascinating film posits that galleries and museums can only become decolonised and inclusive if that the benefits accrued from them flow back to the workers whose labour financed – in some cases, continue to finance – their foundations.
Directed in collaboration with the CATPC and presented at the ICA as part of a four-week global museum launch in partnership with 13 international art institutions, this special preview will be accompanied by a recorded conversation between Martens, Suhail Malik, the Co-Director of the MFA Fine Art programme and Reader in Critical Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Azu Nwagbogu, Founder and Director of African Artists’ Foundation (AAF).