Fondation Prince Pierre de Monaco, on the occasion of Artissima 2019, exhibits the video Love is the Message, the Message is Death (2016) by Arthur Jafa, winner of the 47th PIAC - Prix International d ' Art Contemporain.
The work is a seven-minute digital video that shows a montage of historical and contemporary films, which retrace the African American history and experience through scenes of intense beauty, humor and violence, presented as a testimony of the pain and suffering that African Americans have had to suffer. "Love is the Message, the Message is Death" is a journey through 400 years of history.
The work is set in the present, beginning with the shooting of an ordinary man, inserted in a cycle of atrocious news that tells what human beings are able to do to each other. The images immediately accelerate: fans in a basketball arena cheer in unison; young demonstrators marching with a firm step; a clip from Dance or Go Home; a black man killed by a police officer who shot him in the back; a fragment of a video directed by Kahlil Joseph; erotic movements; Barack Obama breaking into Amazing Grace to praise the eight parishioners of Charleston killed by a white supremacist; black and white film of other times when white preachers lay their threatening hands on the shoulder of a black child; a young black boy who jumps off the sidewalk to which intervals of private life filmed by Jafa are interspersed.
In the work there is no space for any narrative pause and the only image repeated several times is that of the sun. A glowing sun as a cosmological metaphor on the life of the black community.