Breaker of Horses

An easily overlooked T-junction in Copenhagen’s Sydhavn district is the location of a dramatic statue. In the midst of everyday urban space rises a bronze sculpture of a young man who is about to tame two unruly horses. The essay film Breaker of Horses delves into the bronze sculpture and follows the hidden stories that are contained in the cast. This leads us back to the genesis of the sculpture in an antique Greek myth, to a Belgian Africa museum and deep into Europe’s colonial past.

The visual abundance is coloured by a soundtrack that alternately seethes with synthetic sound effects and detached bits of songs about the statue and its history. The film traces the copper material in the bronze sculpture back to the Congo, where extraction of copper through forced labour and slavelike conditions for the Congolese comprised one of the economical foundations for the Belgian King Leopold’s empire. Solidly placed in the era of today, Breaker of Horses is a video work that turns to the past.

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