Larry Achiampong & David Blandy
The Art Galleries at TCU is proud to present the US premiere of Finding Fanon,
August 25 - October 7, 2017
FORT WORTH, TEXAS – “Finding Fanon,” is a three-part film series and installation. UK-based artists Larry Achiampong and David Blandy work collaboratively and share an interest in popular culture and the postcolonial position. They examine communal and personal heritage, using performance to investigate ‘the self’ as a fiction, devising alter-egos to point at their divided selves. The exhibition will be presented at Fort Worth Contemporary Arts, August 25 to October 7th, with a live performance by the artists at 7 p.m. on September 21. This is the first time that all three films have been presented to US audiences.
Finding Fanon is a film series inspired by the lost plays of Frantz Fanon (1925-1961), a politically radical humanist whose research and writing looked at the psychological effects of colonization and the social and cultural consequences of decolonization. The artists examine Fanon’s ideas, and consider how society, race and racism affect our relationships with each other in an age of new technology, pop culture and globalization; an era some call “post-human.”
In the first film the artists’ exploration is played out through a script that fuses found texts and personal testimony, and the drama unfolds in a junkyard boathouse at an unspecified time in the future. The past, present and future collide in unexpected ways in the second film also as personal and family narratives relate to colonial history in the virtual space of a simulated environment of the Grand Theft Auto 5 in-game video editor.
The final film in the trilogy is based on the collaboration of Jean Paul Sartre and Frantz Fanon and their recognition of the problems and pain caused by the rich and politically powerful on the poor and less privileged, particularly, of colonized people. Presented as a meditative, naturalist cinematic portrayal on the fragility of friendships, the film brings the story of Fanon and Sartre’s collaboration to life.
Alongside Finding Fanon, Achiampong and Blandy also present FF Gaiden, a related series of film works employing the virtual space of Grand Theft Auto 5 made in in collaboration with various groups, such as paperless migrants at Mennisker i Limbo (People in Limbo), in Oslo, Norway; Tyneside Cinema's young digital group, The Factory, Newcastle, UK; with a group of veterans in prison and family members at HMP Altcourse in Liverpool, UK; and with members of Nottingham’s Women’s Cultural Exchange, a support group for women refugees and asylum seekers, Nottingham, UK.
These collaborations evolved through generous discussions of sometimes extreme and traumatic personal experience. On the basis of these discussions and workshops, the artists worked with individual group members to develop written scripts, synthetic voiceovers and character avatars for the films.
Larry Achiampong's solo and collaborative projects employ imagery, aural and visual archives, live performance and sound to explore ideas surrounding class, cross-cultural and post-digital identity. He is particularly interested in dichotomies found within a world dominated by social media and digital frameworks. Achiampong has exhibited, performed and presented projects internationally including Tate Britain/Modern, London; dOCUMENTA 13, Kassel; The Institute For Creative Arts, Cape Town; The British Film Institute, London; Modern Art Oxford, Oxford; David Roberts Art Foundation, London; SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin; Bokoor African Popular Music Archives Foundation, Accra; The Mistake Room, Los Angeles; and Logan Center Exhibitions, Chicago. Recent residencies by Achiampong include Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle; Praksis, Oslo; The British Library/Sound & Music, London; and Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge. At present he is artist in residence at Somerset House Studios (London) and is a recipient of the Artist’s Bursary Scheme with Artsadmin (London). Achiampong’s work is currently exhibited in the Diaspora Pavillion at the 57th Venice Biennale and he has also been selected for the fourth iteration of Prospect New Orleans’ international art exhibition, Prospect.4 (P.4), Fall 2017. He completed a BA in Mixed Media Fine Art at University of Westminster (2005) and an MA in Sculpture at Slade School of Fine Art (2008). Larry Achiampong lives and works in London.
David Blandy has established his terrain through a series of investigations into the cultural forces that inform and influence him, ranging from his love of hip hop and soul, to computer games and manga. His works slip between performance and video, reality and construct, using references sampled from the wide, disparate sources that provide his (and our own) individualist sense of self. Blandy has exhibited and performed widely across the UK and internationally, including Tate Britain/Modern, London; Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, Germany; Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland; The British Film Institute, London; Modern Art Oxford, Oxford; The Wellcome Trust, London; Modern Art Museum of Bahia, Brazil; The Zabludowicz Collection, London; the Bluecoat, Liverpool; Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai. Recent residencies by Blandy include Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle; Praksis, Oslo; Iniva, London; and Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge. Last year Blandy was awarded a Random Acts Commission by Channel 4 for “Tutorial: How to make a short video about ideas.” He is represented by Seventeen Gallery, London and his films are distributed by LUX, London. Blandy completed a BA Hons in Sculpture at Chelsea College of Art and an MA in Fine Art Media at the Slade School of Fine Art (2003). David Blandy lives and works in Brighton and London.
Fort Worth Contemporary Arts is one of two galleries that comprise The Art Galleries at TCU. Students and alumni of the College of Fine Arts and guest artists exhibit at these galleries. Fort Worth Contemporary Arts is located at 2900 W. Berry St. on the edge of the TCU Campus, Fort Worth, TX 76109. Gallery Hours are Wednesday to Saturday, 12 – 5 pm, and by appointment. Admission is free.