laughter, horror and death

Painted video club posters and images of the dead in Ghana

Affiche de l'installation "Le rire, l'horreur, la mort" - Click to enlarge, open in a new window


From Tuesday 26th February - Sunday 19th May 2013

  • Martine Aublet workshop, central mezzanine
  • Collections or twin ticket


Germain Viatte, General Heritage Curator



About the installation

The installation presents a selection of posters acquired in 2003 by the musée du quai Branly, painted for the video clubs that proliferated in Ghana from the 1980s. 

These posters present the extraordinary development of film, and above all of video, which accompanies and illustrates the social, urban and technological transformations of the country, between Accra and Kumasi and in the rural territories.

Produced on request by artists or collective workshops and quickly painted on canvas material taken from used sacks, they display a style that is both strangely naive and violently delusional, perfectly suited to the rapid turnover of horror films in more than forty video clubs. Later, when these clubs no longer corresponded to the tastes and equipement of an increasingly bourgeois audience, the posters were equally successfully in promoting the sale of VCDs (Video Compact Discs), intended for private use.

About the installation

The installation is based around seven themes:  

  • The mirage of Hollywood, or the influence of American cinema in the early 1980s.
  • African movies: films from Ghana and Nigeria, which evoke juju films - in which magic and witchcraft are evoked in a style that blends African realism and fantasy.
  • Christianity and tradition, presenting a specific genre of films financed and distributed by the churches.
  • Funerary rites presents Akan funerary portraits and a coffin in the shape of a tuna by Kane Kwei.  
  • Colonial history? around the film "Ekulu" - one of the only Ghanian video-films to make reference to colonial history. 
  • Species and spectres alludes to the films of the 1990s inspired by American science fiction.
  • Laughter is the best medicine concludes the installation on the salvific function of burlesque, following the example of popular theatre.

Finally, extracts from Ghanaian films are screened within a mini-cinema. 

The installation in images

Around the installation


Friday 19th April at 7:00 pm, in the reading room

An encounter with Germain Viatte, curator of the installation, who will deliver a commentary on one of the films produced by Ghana and Nigeria's independent and popular film movement (Nollywood). 

More about the reading room events