Money Must be Made by Lorenzo Vitturi
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Publisher: Self Publish Be Happy
Edition: First, edition of 1000
Money Must Be Made is Lorenzo Vitturi’s second photobook, the result of a three-year project based on the Balogun Market in Lagos, Nigeria.
The many streets that host the Balogun market sprawl from the shadow of a twenty-seven storey building called the Financial Trust House. For a long time, this building was the tallest on the island, housing western corporations and banks in its heyday. These days it remains but is unoccupied. The crowd at the market have swelled and multiplied by sheer osmosis over the years, swallowing the area into the market’s throngs. Real estate developers say the House will remain unoccupied for as long as the market is unregulated. Here we find the paradox that interested Vitturi: where his previous publication Dalston Anatomy surveyed gentrification killing off local business in London, in Lagos he found quite the opposite – gentrification in reverse.
Returning to Lagos many times, Vitturi immersed himself into street market life and studied how the crowds merge into a frenetic, chaotic mass of bodies and objects. He photographed the things he saw – products, prayer mats, apparel – and the people he encountered – local shoppers, vendors and market stall owners. With most of the items on sale imported from China, he surveyed the extent of China’s economic hold on Africa within the context of the market. Through conversations with vendors, he learned its status as a place people flock to to make money. And considering his position as a white Western man working as an artist within the market, he printed out parts of the book and returned to show them to the vendors. “Oyinbo!” they called out to him – a term they have for white people.
Sending materials back to his London studio, he layered fabrics and objects into collages and sculptures that mimicked the arrangements he came across in the market. In weaving different types of images together, Vitturi mines the material substance of the market and attempts to make sense of the time he spent there and the layers of experience and transformation he encountered along the way.