laughter, horror and death

Painted video club posters and images of death in Ghana

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


from tuesday 26 february to sunday 19 may 2013

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


Germain Viatte, General Heritage Conservator



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 out into the rural territories.

Produced on request by artists or collective workshops and quickly painted on canvas from used sacks, they display a style both strangely naive and violently delusional, perfectly suited to the rapid turnover of horror films in more than forty video clubs, and later, when these clubs were no longer appropriate to a more bourgeoise audience and an elite possessing its own equipment, equally useful for 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, films of magic and sorcery blending realism in the African context and fantasy.
  • Christianity and tradition, presenting a specific genre of films financed and distributed by the churches.
  • The section 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 rare pieces of evidence for colonial history in Ghanaian video films. 
  • The section Species and spectres alludes to the 1990s films inspired by American science fiction.
  • Finally, 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 in the context of a mini-cinema. 

The installation in images

Around the installation


friday 19 april at 7.00 pm, in the reading room

Encounter with Germain Viatte, curator of the installation, who will commentate on one of the films of this independent and popular film movement from Ghana and Nigeria (Nollywood). 

More about the reading room events