John Akomfrah, Tropikos 2016. Single channel video, colour, sound – Smoking Dogs Films; Courtesy Lisson Gallery
“I’m a born bricoleur. I love the way that things that are otherwise discrete and self-contained start to suggest things once they are forced into a dialogue with something else.”– John Akomfrah
Lisson gallery presents John Akomfrah’s first exhibition with the gallery, showing new and recent works by this internationally acclaimed artist and filmmaker.
Akomfrah’s work is characterised by a rich, multi-layered visual style that is as poetic as it is political and which frequently fuses contemporary issues with history, fiction and mythology. Collaging archival film footage, still photography and newsreel with new material, he investigates personal and collective memories, post-colonialism, temporality and aesthetics in works that frequently explore the experience of the African diaspora in Europe and the US.
Akomfrah first came to attention in the early 1980s as a founding member of the influential Black Audio Film Collective alongside the artists David Lawson and Lina Gopaul, with whom he still collaborates today. Their film Handsworth Songs (1986), which marks its thirtieth anniversary next year, explored the 1985 riots in Birmingham and London through a charged combination of archival material, that won international prizes and attracted a huge audience when shown at Tate Modern in the wake of the 2011 riots.
For his debut at Lisson, Akomfrah is presenting three new film installations, alongside a series of large scale photographs related to the works.