Nástio Mosquito's collage of perspectives

December 2008 -

"When the lights go out, am I a good-looking dead body?" Nástio Mosquito, Angolan artist and poet, throws his text at the audience with a raw voice. Eyes closed, one hand clenching the microphone, the other at his lips as if to silence his own voice. The audience in the small exhibition room at Iwalewa Haus, the Museum of Contemporary African Art in Bayreuth (Germany), does not seem to know how to react to Mosquito's grim poems set to music. Some laugh; others frown.


Nástio Mosquito

Those members of the audience who visited the exhibition devoted to Mosquito in the lower hall are not surprised by the doubt that Mosquito sows among his audience. His last three video art pieces radically dispensed with every stereotype a naive museum visitor might have regarding African artists. In Nástio’s manifest, Mosquito presents a proposal for a radically different life in seventeen points: "hypocritical, ironic and do not give a fuck". With his sharp humour and clear language, he has viewers laughing one minute and uncomfortably silent the next.

Likewise, The End of Nástio Mosquito is as funny as it is painful. Here, in the persona of his alter-ego Nástia, Mosquito explains why Nástio the artist must die. A person who wants to communicate with others strongly believes in his country and prefers content over fame and wealth. His absurd narration is alternated with images of him looking directly into the camera. Angry? Amused? Uncertain? As he speaks, one of his words is projected in large letters every few seconds. Enjoy, memory, filter, death, love, masturbation, mathafuka, experiment. No clear message and that is exactly what Mosquito hopes to achieve: a collage of perspectives in which nothing is clear or absolute.

His work must live, he says, and if something is to live "it must be contradictory enough to be true." Just when the viewer starts thinking he understands Mosquito, another statement is made, another angle is shown. In the third work of art, with video shots of the Angolan civil war, the viewer thinks for a moment that he understands the message. "In the name of Angola I am African", he says in the voice-over. "I am tribal. I am an immigrant." But as the images of war flash by, the elusive individual ultimately appears in Mosquito’s last line: "I do represent, if you are willing, the army of the individuals."

DZzzz, Nástio Mosquito's DVD, was produced in cooperation with We Are Here! Films in Barcelona. The exposition DZzz Nástio Mosquito can be seen in the Iwalewa Haus in Bayreuth through 4 January 2009.