ASTOR VIDEO CLUB EXHIBITION
What do you get when you task a group of West African movie poster artists to reimagine contemporary and classic Hong Kong and Asian movie posters? A new and imaginative exhibition at Eaton HK’s FOODHALL entitled Astor Video Club.
Building off of last November’s "Now Showing: Jimmy Keung" exhibition, Eaton HK presents a new exhibition that hearkens back to its Astor Theatre cinema roots by commissioning a group of Ghanaian artists to paint ten works in a show of cross-cultural exchange. These depictions of works ranging from action to comedy, romance and drama are sure to conjure memories and perhaps elicit laughter.
Hand-painting movie posters is a dying art form, only sparsely kept alive around the world in countries like Greece and Thailand. In Ghana, the tradition of hand-painting movie posters originally started in the 1980s as a way to advertise movies showing at traveling mobile cinemas, also known as “video clubs”, which involved loading up television sets, projectors, power generators and VHS machines to screen movies at villages that had no reliable electricity. With no access to the official movie posters, these video clubs promoted screenings in their own unique D.I.Y. way. In these posters, the source material sometimes takes on a life of its own as the artists take artistic liberties, eschewing a hyperrealistic approach in favor of exaggerating or overemphasizing features, occasionally even adding elements that do not appear in the movies, all measures that were traditionally done to entice the public to purchase a ticket for the showing.
Though the mobile cinema business is no longer, the art form has survived and is alive and well in Ghana. Thanks to artists Heavy Jay, C.A Wisely and D.A Armasco who collaboratively work under Manso Video Club and Makosa Video Club, Hong Kongers can now experience these special expressions of creative skill and imagination.