Larry Achiampong

'Finding Fanon'
Film projection
Sun 3 May, 21.00
Gillett Square

Finding Fanon is the first part in a series of works by artists Larry Achiampong and David Blandy. This series is inspired by the lost plays of Frantz Fanon, (1925-1961) a politically radical humanist whose practice dealt with the psychopathology of colonisation and the social and cultural consequences of decolonisation.

The two artists negotiate Fanon’s ideas, examining the politics of race, racism and the post-colonial, and how these societal issues affect their relationship.Their conflict is played out through a script that melds found texts and personal testimony, transposing their drama to a junkyard houseboat at an unspecified time in the future. Navigating the past, present and future, Achiampong and Blandy question the promise of globalisation, recognising its impact on their own heritage.

'Finding Fanon' is supported by Arts Council England. With thanks to Hamish McKenzie.

Hip-hop performance
Sat 2 May, 14.00, 20.00 and Sun 3 May, 18:00
Gillett Square

As Biters David Blandy and Larry Achiampong share a quest for truth and authentic experience via the cultures that have influenced them, investigating how our identities are continually shaped by mass-media art forms, such as television, video games, music and the internet. The project proceeds from solo projects that explore both artists’ interests to create a new collaboration – a body of songs that uses their musical heritage to form new collages that combine lyrics and sounds that draw from each artist’s identity. Drawing analogies between art’s history of appropriation and collage and Hip-hop’s legacy of sampling, the project will scrutinise ideas around authorship, copyright and identity. Who owns the products we develop that take inspiration from other sources, is this ‘Biting’ [Hip-hop slang for stealing]? What does authenticity mean in the information age?

Blandy and Achiampong separately explore issues surrounding race and culture from completely different backgrounds. What they share is an interest in communal and personal heritage, the influence of popular culture, and using performance to investigate the self as a fiction, devising alter-egos to point at their divided selves. Biters have been working together since 2013, performing and exhibiting internationally and around the UK, at Museum Modern Art Oxford, Spike Island Bristol, Exeter Phoenix, Savvy Contemporary Berlin and the V&A in London, amongst others.

Larry Achiampong is a British-Ghanaian artist who has exhibited, performed and presented projects in various institutions within the UK and abroad including Tate Britain/Modern, London; Hauptbahnhof (Documenta 13), Kassel; Iniva, London; ICA, London; Yinka Shonibare’s Guest Project Space, London; Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam; Ausland, Berlin and the Bokoor African Popular Music Archives Foundation, Accra.

Larry Achiampong’s practice uses live performance, imagery and sound to explore representations of identity in the post digital age and the dichotomies found within a world dominated by cut-copy-paste facebook/tumblr/youtube-based cultures; in doing he too becomes absorbed by this phenomena. As a ‘Data Thief’ he crate-digs the vaults of history, splicing the audible and visual qualities of the personal and interpersonal archive-as-material. Via his alternate egos such as the mythical, tortured soul that lives in a dystopian parallel life called ‘Black Ph03nix’ and the seemingly funny, yet silently-uncomfortable, familiar, alien-like form known as ‘Cloudface’, Achiampong’s work presents multiple personalities that reveal the socio-political contradictions in contemporary identity.

Larry Achiampong lives and works in London, where he completed a BA in Mixed Media Fine Art at University of Westminster in 2005 and an MA in Sculpture at Slade School of Fine Art in 2008.

Work commissioned by Marie d’Elbée

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