On the occasion of Artissima 2019, the Fondation Prince Pierre de Monaco exhibits the video Love is the Message, the Message is Death (2016) by Arthur Jafa, winner of the 47th edition of the 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 history and the African- American experience through scenes of intense beauty, humor and violence, presented as testimony to the pain and suffering that African Americans 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, it begins with the filming of an ordinary man, inserted within a cycle of atrocious news that tell what human beings are able to do to each other.
The images accelerate immediately: fans in a basketball arena cheer in unison; young demonstrators marching with firm pace; 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 Charleston parishioners killed by a white supremacist; old-time black and white films in which white preachers place their menacing hands on the shoulder of a black child; a young black boy who jumps off the sidewalk interspersed with scenes of private life filmed by Jafa.
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.