Omo Omeonu, Enugu, Nigeria, 2008

Following his popular solo NYC show,  “The Hyena and Other Men,” which captures street performers (and their children) with their muzzled hyenas during off-hours in large-format photographs, Hugo takes theatricality a step further in his new body of work, “Nollywood.” Using actors from the flourishing Nigerian film industry, the result is the bone-chilling manifestation of a collective nightmare – a place where the real and unreal are often difficult to tease apart – the devil sits next to his demure and turbaned wife or a dwarf confronts you in the jungle with a sword in hand. Using the many existing stock characters of popular Nollywood cinematic culture, Hugo goes far beyond standard documentary work. If you’ve forgotten the visceral belly-churning of experiencing something so different, so alarming, that you are startled into self-conscious awareness of your own perceived normalcy, let the bare-footed masked man (wearing only a trench coat, bowler hat, large fake ears, and carrying a hatchet) take you away. The traffic is blurred behind him, and you’ll wonder if you’re the only one who can see him (Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Bergamot Station).

Mummy Ahmadu and Mallam Mantari Lamal with Mainasara, Abuja, Nigeria 2005

Advertisements