One of several S&A 2012 Toronto Interntational Film Festival highlights… British/Ghanaian filmmaker John Akomfrah’s lats work, titled Peripeteia, which stars Monique Cunningham, and Trevor Mathison (who appeared in Akomfrah’s previous work, The Nine Muses).
A quick recap… the description of the film reads:
A moving visualization of two characters drawn in the 16th century by Albrecht Dürer – a black male and female whose stories have been ‘lost to the winds of history’. British filmmaker John Akomfrah imagines the lives of a black man and woman who appear in a sixteenth-century drawing by German Renaissance master Albrecht Dürer.
Albrecht Dürer was a German artist and mathematician of the 15th and 16th centuries, and is regarded as the greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance, with a vast body of work that includes religious works, portraits and copper engravings.
And the word “Peripeteia” is defined as a sudden reversal of fortune or change in circumstances, especially in reference to fictional narratives.
The photo above is a combo of the two characters drawn by Durer – a piece from 1508 titled Head Of A Negro, done during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade (little is known about the man in the drawing), and Portrait Of African Woman Catherine, done in 1521.
A series of new images from the film have surfaced, and are embedded below.
And finally, readers in London should know that Peripeteia, along with several other Akomfrah works (a total of 3 new video, sound and installation works – never before presented in the UK – as well as a new presentation of a video essay from 1998), are being featured in his first exhibition for Carroll/Fletcher, the contemporary art gallery located on Eastcastle Street in Central London.
Titled Hauntologies, the exhibition will run through November 8.
Details in the press release below, followed by the 8 images:
5 October – 8 November 2012
Hauntologies is artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah’s compelling meditation on disappearance, memory and death. In his first exhibition for Carroll/Fletcher, the virtuosity and depth of Akomfrah’s practice is revealed in three new video, sound and installation works – never before presented in the UK – as well as the new presentation of a video essay from 1998.
The short film Peripeteia (2012) takes as its starting point two drawings by the sixteenth century artist Albrecht Dürer. The portraits – one of a bearded black male, the other of a black woman wearing a close fitting bonnet – are among the earliest Western representations of black people, their existence now “lost to the winds of history”. These elusive characters evolve into the film’s ghostly protagonists, wandering in a contemporary moorland landscape, the past insinuating itself into the present. The painterly quality of Peripeteia has also been captured in a series of limited edition diptychs.
Akomfrah’s long obsession with film archives and the search for traces attesting to the evasive and yet inescapable presence of death unfolds in At the Graveside of Tarkovsky (2012). This new sound installation is created from the soundtracks to Tarkovsky films, and made in collaboration with Trevor Mathison. In a new video essay Psyche (2012), Akomfrah further explores the imagined biographies of figures from the past through edited extracts from historical feature films such as Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet’s The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach (1968) and Kevin Brownlow’sWinstanley (1975).
Since the 1970s Akomfrah has been committed to giving a voice and a presence to the African diaspora in Europe that goes beyond the conventional rhetoric of resentment. Through poetic and polyphonic works he has invented a filmic language that investigates the trauma and sense of alienation of displaced subjects, mostly recently in his widely acclaimed film, Nine Muses (2010).
Akomfrah was a founding member of the Black Audio Film Collective, the seminal British filmmaking group that was active between 1982 and 1998, and which first came to prominence with the groundbreaking creative documentary Handsworth Songs (1986).
John Akomfrah is represented by Carroll / Fletcher.
Peripeteia is co-produced by The European Cultural Foundation (ECF) and Carroll/Fletcher and premiered at Toronto Film Festival 2012, which continues until 16 September.
Akomfrah’s new film essay on Stuart Hall, The Unfinished Conversation, will premiere at the Bluecoat as part of the Liverpool Biennial 2012 (15 September – 25 November) and will be shown at Taipei Biennial (29 September – January 13).
For further information visit www.carrollfletcher.com.
Check out the 8 new images below: