This small catalogue examines the multimedia installation La Bouche du Roi by Beninois artist Romuald Hazoumé (b. 1962). The main components of the work are 304 “masks” made from black plastic petrol cans, two overlapping soundtracks of sounds and voices, and a video loop detailing the lives of motorcyclists who run petrol between Benin and Nigeria in a form of modern day slavery. The definitive publication of the installation, this book features the a poem written specifically for the work by Roger Gbégnonvi as well as extensive visual and textual documentation. Includes a selected exhibition history and bibliography.
About the Authors
Matthew Drutt is an editor, writer, and independent curator focused on modern and contemporary art. He formerly served as chief curator at the Menil Collection, where he curated the award-winning exhibition Kazimir Malevich: Suprematism (2003) and edited the associated publication.
Frits Bless is director of the Van Reekum Museum in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, where he curated Benin: Benin Tussen Gisteren Morgen (1998), which featured Hazoumé’s work.
Joan Wils authored the important 17th–century poem “Ballad of the Slave Trader,” reprinted in this book.
Roger Gbégnonvi is a Beninois poet, professor of literature, and friend of the artist.