Ayọ̀ Akínwándé: the artist isn’t present

The Gallow Gate, Glasgow, United Kingdom
23 Mar 2019 - 05 May 2019

Work detail by Ayọ̀ Akínwándé.

Work detail by Ayọ̀ Akínwándé.

Ayọ̀ Akínwándé’s first solo exhibition in the United Kingdom will borrow elements of building construction to explore the artist’s own process of making new work. For the purpose of this exhibition, Akínwándé has interrupted the notion of completion, situating the viewer in his working environment. The exhibition is under construction.

This work stems from Akínwándé’s background in architecture, incorporating design processes in the spatial sectioning of these ideas to evoke both intimacy and the monumental. Using materials found on construction site such as corrugated zinc sheets, wood, and stone, the artist mimics the restriction areas on construction sites to signify the invisibility of the artists’ process to their audience.

In amongst the rubble, the artist presents new video work based on his ongoing research into markets. The video explores ways of marking time across cultures, using the market system of the Igbos – in present day South-East Nigeria – as a starting point. The Gallow Gate is located in an original Barras Market building, and our geography and relationship to the only outdoor market in Glasgow became a point of interest to the artist. As part of this research, Akínwándé travelled to various markets in the city of Enugu and Abakaliki, places where he had spend significant time a decade earlier as a graduate.

In this body of work, the artist moves away from his extensive study into the power structures and vexed relationship between leadership and citizenship in Nigeria, whilst still closely considering the experiences of people in the built environment. Akínwándé’s work encompasses installation, sculpture, sound, video, photography and digital archives, to debate the Nigerian socio-political reality and the propagation of citizenship.

the artist isn’t present applies the same satirical approach to exhibition making whilst disrupting the conventional relationship between artists and audiences.

Ayọ̀ Akínwándé is a contemporary Nigerian artist born and based in Lagos. Akínwándé’s practice is multi-disciplinary, experimenting with lens based media, installation, sculpture, performance and sound to explore concepts of identity, duality and the multi-faceted layers of the human reality. His artistic process involves constant monologues and dialogues on socio-political realities in his environment while the subsequent presentations incorporate architectural processes in a spatial detailing and sectioning of these ideas and thoughts to evoke both intimacy and the monumentality. Akínwándé co-curated the 2017 Lagos Biennial and was also a participating artist at the exhibition held at the Nigerian Railway Museum. He was selected for the 2nd Changjiang International Photography and Video Biennial and was part of the “Chinafrika-under construction” exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Arts, Leipzig. He is a contributor to the book “ASIKO: On the Future of Artistic and Curatorial Pedagogies in Africa” by the Centre for Contemporary Arts Lagos. His works and writings have been featured in Art Africa, Dienacht Magazine, PoetsArtists, Contemporary&, The Sole Adventurer, SomethingWeAfricansGot and other journals and publications around the world. Akínwándé is a 2018 ArtX Prize finalist and a Top10 finalist at the 2018 ABSA L’Atelier Art competition with his work forming part of the exhibition at the ABSA Gallery. In 2019, Akínwándé will undertake three prestigious residencies: Place Publique (Darling Foundation) in Montreal, Canada; Hangar in Lisbon, Portugal; Factoria Habana for the 2019 Havana Biennial in Cuba.




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