VITA NOVA I 2009 I 26’00”
New work, commissioned by Contour 2009

Vincent Meessen’s new film ‘Vita Nova’ takes as its point of departure a cover of the French magazine Paris-Match, from 1955. On this cover, a child soldier is depicted in the act of making a military salute. The artist subsequently embarks on a search for Diouf, the child soldier, weaving an elaborate narrative that brings together phantoms from the colonial past, the writings of Roland Barthes – who wrote about this particular image – and issues that centre on the representation and re-writing of history, its repressed narratives, as well as the spectral nature of photography.



Vincent Meessen’s work develops around the idea of contested territory as a political issue in the postcolonial context. Using the documentary mode as a point of departure he creates complex, fragmented narratives to defamiliarise the past and re-frame the present. Meessen’s films have been featured in important international film festivals, including Oberhausen where he won the Grand Prize of the City of Oberhausen (2006). This year Meessen’s work was shown in the Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam.

Vita Nova, 2009
Single channel video, colour, sound, 26’00’’
Courtesy Normal (Brussels)