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John Akomfrah's Purple opens at Bildmuseet

Press Release   •   Apr 03, 2018 09:39 GMT

John Akomfrah, Purple, 2017. Courtesy the Artist and Lisson Gallery. © Smoking Dogs Films

Bildmuseet presents a new work by British artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah, his most ambitious project to date. Purple is an immersive six-channel video installation addressing man's relationship to nature and to the planet. The exhibition opens April 13 at 19:00 in the presence of the artist.

Press preview Thursday 12 April at 10:00-12:00, including the 60 minutes film work. John Akomfrah will be present, as well as David Lawson and Lina Gopaul from Smoking Dogs Films. Welcome! RSVP 11 April to helena.vejbrink@bildmuseet.umu.se.

At a time when greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are at historically high levels and glaciers are melting, Purple poses the question of human responsibility.

In this epic film work, John Akomfrah combines archival material with newly staged footage and a hypnotic sound score. The new film sequences were recorded in regions with particularly climate-sensitive ecosystems, such as Greenland, Alaska and the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia and at various sites around the UK. Combined with images and film clips from the 1940s to the present day, they form a multi-layered montage of politics, history, and fiction.

Parallel themes run through the hour-long work. In the exhibition room, six monumental projections weave these fragments together into a whole, and open for a multitude of reflections on the delicate relationship between humans and the planet.

Purple is a sequel to Vertigo Sea, which was shown at Bildmuseet in 2015. The museum was the first to exhibit the work following its premiere at the Venice Biennale that same year.

John Akomfrah (b. 1957 in Accra, Ghana) lives and works in London. He was one of the founders of the Black Audio Film Collective, a group of artists and filmmakers dedicated to examining issues of Black British identity. In 1997 he co-founded Smoking Dogs Films with Lina Gopaul and David Lawson (previous members of BAFC), and has since pursued an individual and distinguished film practice. John Akomfrah’s work has been exhibited at Prospect New Orleans; Documenta, Kassel; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Venice Biennale; the Tate Britain, London; the Whitechapel Gallery, London; the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and film festivals in Cannes and Toronto, among others. In 2017 he received the prestigious Artes Mundi prize.

Purple is a Smoking Dogs Films production, commissioned by the Barbican, London; Bildmuseet, Umeå; TBA21-Academy, Vienna; The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, and Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon.

Press images can be downloaded at www.bildmuseet.umu.se/press-images

For further information, please contact

Museum Curator Brita Täljedal
brita.taljedal@bildmuseet.umu.se
+46 90 7867714

Bildmuseet exhibits contemporary international art, photography, architecture, design and other forms of visual culture. Existential, political and philosophical issues are key to the programme. Bildmuseet received a Special Commendation from the European Museum of the Year jury 2014, and was one of the top candidates för the Swedish Museum of the Year Award as well as for the Council of Europe Museum Prize.

Bildmuseet is a part of Umeå University. It is housed in an acclaimed building at the Umeå Arts Campus, right next to the Umeå Academy of Fine Arts, Umeå Institute of Design, Umeå School of Architecture and Humlab-X. Umeå university is a multifaced university where studies and research within the creative realm make up an important part of the universty's cornerstone. It is one of Sweden's largest institutions of higher learning with over 32,000 students and 4,200 employees.

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