Renzo Martens

Netherlands, Belgium, Democratic Republic of the Congo , 2020 / 79 min / Lingala, French & English OV with English subt. / Documentary

A collaboration with Casino - Forum d'Art Contemporain / 2030 Award By Luxembourg Aid & Development Nominee

The entwinement of colonialism and the art world is no box of chocolates. Or perhaps it is.

Congolese plantation workers make chocolate sculptures and from the profits they buy back 'their' land from the multinational corporation, Unilever. This project is called « White Cube ».

“The film, like the white cube, is a tool (…) It tells what we are doing, and it makes it visible, and it also connects us to the world, to other plantations, to other artists, and it gives us access to things we didn’t have access to before.” Cedart Tamasala, one of the locals who participated in the project

Tue 08/03 19:00 Ciné Utopia LIN, FR, ENG OV with EN. subt Public

"White Cube is both a film and a record of a project seeking to transform a community through art. By linking the wealthy international art world directly to an impoverished African plantation, Martens demonstrates how fortunes across the globe are intertwined. Central to the endeavor are issues of restitution, repatriation and perhaps even reparations. The underlying question that “White Cube” poses is: What does art owe to the communities from which it has extracted so much?" Nina Siegal, The New York Times, 22/04/2021

“The film has a heartfelt quality, and one can feel the sincerity with which Martens sets out to tie together the seemingly overly distant ends of these different worlds.“ Chris Frieswijk, Cineuropa, 26/11/2021

  • Nominee, DOX:AWARD, CPH:Dox, 2021 (Denmark)
  • Nominee, Best Feature-Length Documentary, IDFA, 2021 (The Netherlands)
Cast & Credits
Renzo Martens, Dareck Tuba, Hans Bouma, Maarten Kramer, Daan Wallis, Remco Bikkers, Louise van Assche, Eric Vander Borght, Jean Counet, Deschamps Matala, Lisa Perez, Boaz van der Spek
Boaz van der Spek, Eric Vander Borght, Jos de Putter, Jan de Coster
Papy Bambole-Kandole, Dareck Tuba, Philippe Benoit, Ranko Paukovic
Pieter van Huystee Film
Inti Films
Pieter van Huystee Film

Renzo Martens is an artist and filmmaker born in 1973 in Terneuzen, the Netherlands. He currentky lives and works between Amsterdam and Lusanga. Martens studied Political Science at the University of Nijmegen, the Netherlands (1992), and earned an MA from Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam (1996). He is currently completing a PhD in the Arts from Ghent University, Belgium. He gained international recognition with the films Episode I (2003) and Episode III: Enjoy Poverty (2009). White Cube is his latest film. 

  • 2021 – White Cube
  • 2009 - Episode III: Enjoy Poverty
  • 2003 - Episode I