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Almine Rech-Picasso Goes Global Ocula Conversation Almine Rech-Picasso Goes Global

French gallerist Almine Rech-Picasso opened her first space in Asia on Shanghai's historic Bund in July this year, bringing her eponymous gallery's total locations to five. The Shanghai gallery occupies roughly 4,000 square feet on the second floor of the three-storey Amber Building, a beautiful warehouse space, originally occupied by the Central...

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From the Gallery to the Streets: Home Works 8 in Beirut Ocula Report From the Gallery to the Streets: Home Works 8 in Beirut 8 Nov 2019 : Nat Muller for Ocula

There's an inside joke amongst the team of Ashkal Alwan, The Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts: that every time an edition of its biennial forum on cultural practices is planned, a national crisis happens. The eighth edition of Home Works was no different: it opened on 17 October amidst the most devastating wildfires that Lebanon had witnessed...

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Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough Ocula Insight | Video
Sponsored Content | Mazzoleni Gallery
Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough 15 October 2019

Hans Hartung and Art Informel at Mazzoleni London (1 October 2019-18 January 2020) presents key works by the French-German painter while highlighting his connection with artists active in Paris during the 50s and 60s. In this video, writer and historian Alan Montgomery discusses Hartung's practice and its legacy.Born in Leipzig in 1904, Hans...

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John Akomfrah

b. 1957, Ghana

John Akomfrah is a hugely respected artist and filmmaker, whose works are characterised by their investigations into memory, post-colonialism, temporality and aesthetics and often explores the experiences of migrant diasporas globally. Akomfrah was a founding member of the influential Black Audio Film Collective, which started in London in 1982 alongside the artists David Lawson and Lina Gopaul, who he still collaborates with today. Their first film, Handsworth Songs (1986), explored the events surrounding the 1985 riots in Birmingham and London through a charged combination of archive footage, still photos and newsreel. The film won several international prizes and established a multi-layered visual style that has become a recognisable motif of Akomfrah's practice. Recent works include the three-screen installation The Unfinished Conversation (2012), a moving portrait of the cultural theorist Stuart Hall's life and work; Peripeteia (2012), an imagined drama visualising the lives of individuals included in two 16th century portraits by Albrecht Dürer and Mnemosyne (2010), which exposes the experience of migrants in the UK, questioning the notion of Britain as a promised land by revealing the realities of economic hardship and casual racism. In 2015, Akomfrah premiered his three-screen film installation Vertigo Sea (2015), that explores what Ralph Waldo Emerson calls 'the sublime seas'. Fusing archival material, readings from classical sources and newly shot footage, Akomfrah's piece focuses on the disorder and cruelty of the whaling industry and juxtaposes it with scenes of many generations of migrants making epic crossings of the ocean for a better life. Vertigo Sea has as its narrative spine two remarkable books: Herman Melville's Moby-Dick (1851), and Heathcote Williams' epic poem Whale Nation (1988), a harrowing and inspiring work which charts the history, intelligence and majesty of the largest mammal on earth.

Akomfrah (born 1957) lives and works in London. He has had numerous solo exhibitions including The Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne, Australia (2017); Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, UK (2017); University of New South Wales, Paddington, Australia (2016); Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK (2016); The Exchange, Penzance, UK (2016); Nikolaj Kunsthal, Copenhagen, Denmark (2016); STUK Kunstcentrum, Leuven, Belgium (2016); Arnolfini, Bristol, UK (2016); Bildmuseet Umeå, Sweden (2015); Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan, USA (2014); Tate Britain, London, UK (2013–14), and a week long series of screenings at MoMA, New York, USA (2011). His participation in international group shows has included: Restless Earth, La Triennale di Milano, Milan, Italy (2017); Unfinished Conversations, Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NY, USA (2017); The Place is Here, Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK (2017); The 1980s: Today's Beginnings?, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands (2016); British Art Show 8, (2015–17); All the World's Futures, 56th Venice Biennale, Italy (2015); History is Now: 7 Artists Take On Britain, Hayward Gallery, London, UK (2015); Africa Now: Politcal Patterns, SeMA, Seoul, South Korea (2014); Sharjah Biennial 11, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (2013); Liverpool Biennial, UK (2012) and Taipei Biennial, Taiwan (2012). He has also been featured in many international film festivals, including Sundance Film Festival, Utah, USA (2013 and 2011) and Toronto International Film Festival, Canada (2012).

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Featured Artworks

Untitled by John Akomfrah contemporary artwork
John AkomfrahUntitled, 2016 C-type print mounted on Dibond
101.6 x 152.4 cm
Lisson Gallery
Auto Da Fé by John Akomfrah contemporary artwork
John AkomfrahAuto Da Fé, 2016 Two channel HD colour video installation, 5.1 sound
Lisson Gallery
Tropikos by John Akomfrah contemporary artwork
John AkomfrahTropikos, 2016 Single channel colour video, 5.1 sound
Lisson Gallery

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

58th Venice Biennale: May You Live In Interesting Times Ocula Report 58th Venice Biennale: May You Live In Interesting Times 24 May 2019 : Mohammad Salemy for Ocula

The 58th Venice Biennale, May You Live In Interesting Times (11 May–24 November 2019), certainly benefitted from low expectations, given the lacklustre curatorial of the previous edition, when different segments of the show were conceptually framed with titles like 'Pavilion of Joys and Fears' and 'Pavilion of Colours'. Add to this the...

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John Akomfrah Ocula Conversation John Akomfrah Artist

The polyphonic has been a guiding principle in John Akomfrah's work. As a founding member of the Black Audio Film Collective, which was active from 1982 to 1998, Akomfrah produced experimental documentaries and films that responded to growing social turmoil in 1980s Britain. The collective's first film essay, Handsworth Songs (1986), licensed and...

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In Related Press

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The Art Newspaper's pick of the 2019 Venice Biennale Related Press The Art Newspaper's pick of the 2019 Venice Biennale The Art Newspaper : 30 April 2019

There are hundreds of exhibitions in Venice during the Biennale. Alongside the main exhibition in the Giardini and Arsenale, there are 90 national presentations, many in nearby pavilions in the Giardini and in spaces around the Arsenale, but also dotted throughout Venice. Then there are the official collateral exhibitions in museums and galleries,...

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John Akomfrah Commemorates the Colonial Soldiers Who Fought for a Cause that Was Not Theirs Related Press John Akomfrah Commemorates the Colonial Soldiers Who Fought for a Cause that Was Not Theirs Frieze : 22 January 2019

In the opening image of John Akomfrah's Mimesis: African Soldier (2018), we are confronted by a row of black and brown faces who smile nervously and knowingly into the camera. They represent the faces we seldom see in war documentaries or history books; their smiles evoke a quiet sense of unease and foreboding. Once the colonial subjects of empire,...

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Strange Days review – fishy kisses, naked prancing and ribald revenge Related Press Strange Days review – fishy kisses, naked prancing and ribald revenge The Guardian : 3 October 2018

Strange Days: Memories of the Future is overwhelming: complex, at times annoying and confusing, repetitive, uplifting and baffling. Like life, really. Films and videos by 21 artists are spread over three floors of the Store X on London's Strand.

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John Akomfrah Discusses Channeling J.M.W. Turner and Disasters at Sea Related Press John Akomfrah Discusses Channeling J.M.W. Turner and Disasters at Sea Hyperallergic : 11 June 2018

When he was four years old, artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah came to London from Ghana with his parents. Because of their anti-colonial activism — they worked with Kwame Nkrumah, who became the country’s first prime minister and president after Ghana’s liberation from Britain —their lives were in danger. The family lived near the Tate, and...

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