Curated by Natalia Palombo
17 August - 29 September 2019, Thursday to Sunday 11am - 5pm (12-5pm on Saturday 17 August)
Preview: Friday 16 August 6-8pm
The Gallow Gate at Many Studios, 3 Ross Street, Glasgow, G1 5AR
The Expulsion is a new and deeply personal work from the imagination of Larry Achiampong. Newly commissioned by The Gallow Gate, the short film highlights the rich interior world of an unnamed migrant with references to themes of race, class and gender.
In this work, Achiampong invokes the energy and memories of a pre-gentrified 1990s east London; weaving testimonies and daydreams with the monotonous rhythms of physical labour and the weight of frustrating consumerist aspirations in the city's West End.
The narrator forces an imagined viewer to look at what has been made unseen; cleaners, labourers, janitors, porters, bouncers and sanitation workers each attempting to claim the spoils (and that which has been spoiled).
Achiampong guides us through to a shadow world of “invisible” workers by transmuting the common acts of cleaning and maintenance into something that has the power of the rituals of prayer or a sequence of launch codes. Each repetition evokes an attempt to reach apotheosis, to leave the loop or at the least; shake off the signifiers of difference and poverty.
Occupying various processes of (re)exploring time travel (via the spoken word, the visualisation of a memory and the ambiance of an evolving soundtrack), this work builds on Achiampong’s concept of sanko-time, a theory at the core of the artist’s recent practice. Based in the Ashanti word “sanfoka” – roughly translated as to go back for what has been left behind. Sankofa also alludes to using the past to prepare for the future; essentially, the wish of being able to go back to an immutable point to make sure that what has been lost is not lost no longer. Although a new term, it reflects resilience from the oldest traumas of the African diasporas.
Shot in 4k resolution, The Expulsion’s lyrical script, undulating visuals and hypnotic original score connect an ever-present past to current concerns of societal iniquity, class ceilings and erased histories.
This project is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland and The African Arts Trust.
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.
With works that examine his communal and personal heritage – in particular, the intersection between pop culture and the postcolonial position, Achiampong crate-digs the vaults of history. These investigations examine constructions of ‘the self’ by splicing the audible and visual materials of personal and interpersonal archives, offering multiple perspectives that reveal entrenched socio-political contradictions in contemporary society.
Achiampong’s recent project titled ‘Relic Traveller’ is a multi-disciplinary multi-site project that builds on themes of lost testimony, fallen empire and displacement by deconstructing the architectures of colonialism. The project is currently formed of a ‘First Phase’ involving an original score, two short films and installations, an audio-visual performance and a flag project which recently displayed atop Somerset House in London.
Achiampong has exhibited, performed and presented projects within the UK and abroad including Tate Britain/Modern, London; The Institute For Creative Arts, Cape Town; The British Film Institute, London; David Roberts Art Foundation, London; Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen; Bokoor African Popular Music Archives Foundation, Accra; Logan Center Exhibitions, Chicago; Prospect New Orleans, New Orleans; Diaspora Pavilion – 57th Venice Biennale, Venice; and Somerset House, London.
Achiampong’s recent residencies include Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle; Praksis, Oslo; The British Library/Sound & Music, London; Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge; and Primary, Nottingham. He’s currently artist in residence at Somerset House Studios (London).
Achiampong (b. 1984, UK) is a Jarman Award nominated artist (2018). He completed a BA in Mixed Media Fine Art at University of Westminster in 2005 and an MA in Sculpture at The Slade School of Fine Art in 2008. He lives and works in London, and has been a tutor on the Photography MA programme at Royal College of Art since 2016. Achiampong currently serves on the Board of Trustees at Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) and is represented by C Ø P P E R F I E L D.