John Akomfrah: The Unintended Beauty of Disaster

13 April – 5 June 2021
67 Lisson Street, London

Lisson Gallery is delighted to unveil a series of new and recent works by celebrated artist, filmmaker, lecturer and writer, John Akomfrah. The exhibition includes a new three-screen video installation alongside a series of new photo-text works. Featuring footage filmed over the past year, this new body of work responds directly to the events of 2020, most notably the Black Lives Matter protests and demonstrations against imperialist monuments, presenting a rethinking of historical narratives.

John Akomfrah
Installation view, Four Nocturnes2019, Co-commissioned by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture of Ghana, Sharjah Art Foundation and Smoking Dogs Films

The exhibition will also include the UK premiere of the ground-breaking three-screen film, Four
Nocturnes (2019), co-commissioned by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture of Ghana, Sharjah Art Foundation and Smoking Dogs Films for the inaugural Ghana Pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia. Akomfrah’s work is characterised by an ethical and emotional impetus to reflect on our collective consciousness – be it the existential threat of ecological disaster, exploring Black British identity and post-colonialism, or giving voice to minority communities.

John Akomfrah
Installation view 67 Lisson Street, London

Akomfrah creates impressionist meditations through film and media; using montage techniques and bricolage, new footage is weaved together with archival material, newsreel and still photography. Overlaid with an immersive sound design, the artist often plays with imagery to construct conversations between the past and present, unapologetically bringing forth the multiplicity of these issues through non-linear narratives.

The first room in the gallery will house Four Nocturnes, the third part of a trilogy of films including the renowned Vertigo Sea (2015) and Purple (2017) that explore the complex intertwined relationship between humanity’s destruction of the natural world and our destruction of ourselves. Using Africa’s declining elephant populations as its narrative spine, Four Nocturnes questions mortality, loss, fragmented identity, mythology and memory through poetic visuals that survey the landscape of African cultural heritage.

©2021 John Akomfrah, Lisson Gallery

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