Carroll / Fletcher
5 October – 8 November 2012

Hauntologies is artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah's compelling meditation on disappearance, memory and death. In his first exhibition for Carroll/Fletcher, the virtuosity and depth of Akomfrah's practice is revealed in three new video, sound and installation works - never before presented in the UK - as well as the new presentation of a video essay from 1998.

The short film Peripeteia (2012) takes as its starting point two drawings by the sixteenth century artist Albrecht Dürer. The portraits - one of a bearded black male, the other of a black woman wearing a close fitting bonnet - are among the earliest Western representations of black people, their existence now "lost to the winds of history". These elusive characters evolve into the film's ghostly protagonists, wandering in a contemporary moorland landscape, the past insinuating itself into the present. The painterly quality of Peripeteia has also been captured in a series of limited edition diptychs.

Akomfrah's long obsession with film archives and the search for traces attesting to the evasive and yet inescapable presence of death unfolds in At the Graveside of Tarkovsky (2012). This new sound installation is created from the soundtracks to Tarkovsky films, and made in collaboration with Trevor Mathison. In a new video essay Psyche (2012), Akomfrah further explores the imagined biographies of figures from the past through edited extracts from historical feature films such as Carl Theodor Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet's The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach (1968) and Kevin Brownlow'sWinstanley (1975).

Since the 1970s Akomfrah has been committed to giving a voice and a presence to the African diaspora in Europe that goes beyond the conventional rhetoric of resentment. Through poetic and polyphonic works he has invented a filmic language that investigates the trauma and sense of alienation of displaced subjects, mostly recently in his widely acclaimed film, Nine Muses (2010).

Akomfrah was a founding member of the Black Audio Film Collective, the seminal British filmmaking group that was active between 1982 and 1998, and which first came to prominence with the groundbreaking creative documentary Handsworth Songs (1986).

John Akomfrah is represented by Carroll / Fletcher. Peripeteia is co-produced by The European Cultural Foundation (ECF) and Carroll/Fletcher and premiered at Toronto Film Festival 2012, which
continues until 16 September.

Akomfrah's new film essay on Stuart Hall, The Unfinished Conversation, will premiere at the Bluecoat as part of the Liverpool Biennial 2012 (15 September - 25 November) and will be shown at Taipei Biennial (29 September - January 13).

The Artist
For the last thirty years, Akomfrah has been committed to giving a voice and a presence to the legacy of the African diaspora in Europe; filling in the voids in history by digging into historical archives to create film essays and speculative fictional stories about past lives. Known for his work with the Black Audio Film Collective,  which he co-founded in 1982, Akomfrah's multi-layered and poetic films invent a new language that investigates the trauma and sense of alienation of displaced subjects.

Born in 1957, John Akomfrah lives and works in London. An artist, lecturer, and writer, as well as a filmmaker, his work is among the most distinctive in the contemporary British art world. Akomfrah is well known for his work with the London-based media workshop Black Audio Film Collective, which he co-founded in 1982, together with Lina Gopaul, Avril Johnson, Reece Auguiste, Trevor Mathison, David Lawson and Edward George.

Since 1998, Akomfrah has worked primarily within the independent film and television production companies, Smoking Dogs Films, (London) and Creation Rebel Films (Accra). Alongside Akomfrah's successful career in cinema and television, his work has been widely shown in museums and galleries including Documenta 11, Kassel; the De Balie, Amsterdam; Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Serpentine Gallery and Whitechapel Art Gallery, London; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. A major retrospective of Akomfrah's gallery-based work with the Black Audio Film Collective premiered at FACT, Liverpool and Arnolfini, Bristol in 2007. His films have been included in international film festivals such as Cannes, Toronto and Sundance, among others. In 2008, he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). In March 2012, he was awarded the European Cultural Foundation's Princess Margriet Award.

Carroll / Fletcher
56 - 57 Eastcastle Street
London W1W 8EQ
Telephone  +44 (0)20 7323 6111
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