Picture preview: John Akomfrah, Hauntologies


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The Independent Culture

Hauntologies is artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah’s compelling meditation on disappearance, memory and death.

Three new video, sound and installation commissions – never before presented in the UK -  will be exhibited at the Carroll / Fletcher gallery in London next month.

The short film Peripeteia (2012), takes as its starting point two drawings by the sixteenth century artist Albrecht Dürer.

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The portraits – one of a bearded black male, the other of a black woman wearing a close fitting bonnet – are believed to be 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.

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’s Winstanley (1975).

John Akomfrah: Hauntologies is from 5 October to 8 November 2012, www.carrollfletcher.com