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Stephen Fakiyesi & Harold Offeh

‘FAKIYESI/OFFEH: How to Speak to Power?’ 30.1.2015 - 1.2.2015

 
'Queen's face' by Stephen Fakiyesi
'Queen's face' by Stephen Fakiyesi
'Service Rendered' by Harold Offeh
Stephen Fakiyesi
 
 

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1pm to 6pm Thursday to Sunday

Private View: Thursday 29 January, 6pm to 8pm

Closing Event: Sunday 1 February, 3pm to 6pm. An opportunity to meet both artists and discuss their work in the gallery.

To celebrate the culmination of his six-month London residency in 2014, funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, artist Stephen Fakiyesi returns to London to exhibit How to Speak to Power? at the Acme Project Space with British artist Harold Offeh.

In a chapter titled 'The Ethnic Theory of Plane Crashes', Outliers author, Malcolm Gladwell, correlates the high plane crash rates in the late 80s to the late 90s of some countries’ national airlines to a cultural legacy that disparages or otherwise does not equip its populace with an effective means by which to address and question authority and authority figures.

The “loss” rate for the worst performing airlines in the study was attributed to “human factors”. Such “human factors” stem from a culture of timidity and suppression; and have real world consequences, like the inability of a first officer to speak plainly and boldly to a superior officer or to Air Traffic Control - contributing to a staggering 17 times greater rate of plane crashes than the global standard.

The point of all this goes well beyond aviation to suggest, like the inability of these pilots to be heard, that entire segments of society are voiceless - and cannot right themselves - until they and we acknowledge the importance of their cultural legacy in effecting their (and possibly our) involuntary action or inaction, and take the appropriate steps to fix it.

The two artists presented in this exhibition, Stephen Fakiyesi, and Harold Offeh, use play and humour in their art work, as disarmingly as a court jester, to suggest strategies that give voice to the voiceless and that makes visible the imbalances of power which often goes unnoticed in regular social interactions. In so doing, they point to a more equitable balance of power within the world at large.

Offeh presents two videos, Services Rendered and Freshen Up. Both works examine Offeh’s exploration of the dynamics and power relations of the toilet attendant. Services Rendered documents Offeh’s attempts to take on the role in various contexts. While Freshen Up reconfigures found footage of African toilet attendants singing in bars and clubs.

Fakiyesi presents Rock with You, from his 2014 residency, a series of photographs of the artist performing Michael Jackson moves alongside statues in east London. Also included is Obama Masks, a photo-based performance in which the artist sells Michelle and Barack Obama masks on the streets of Toronto just prior to the 2010 US presidential election. A final piece, Stacks, is an interactive work which invites the audience to build house-of-card structures out of oversized playing cards that feature African kings and queens in various stages of resolution.

Stephen Fakiyesi is a Nigerian-Canadian artist based in Toronto. He is best known for producing print media installations that are conceptual in nature and address social, spiritual and cultural identity. Fakiyesi received his Bachelor of Art in Art and Art History from the University of Toronto and his Master of Fine Art degree from the University of California Los Angeles.

Harold Offeh born in Accra, Ghana is an artist who works in a range of media including performance, video, photography and interactive and digital media employing humour as a means to confront the viewer with an assessment of contemporary popular culture. He studied at the University of Brighton and the Royal College of Art, London.

 
 
 

Directions

Acme Project Space

44 Bonner Road
London
E2 9JS
T
020 8981 6811
F 020 8983 0567
E mail@acme.org.uk

Acme Project Space is located in the heart of East London's gallery district, around the corner from The Approach and a short walk from Vyner Street. The venue is well served by public transport:

  • Underground - Bethnal Green (Central Line)
  • Train - Cambridge Heath
  • Bus - D3 & 309
  • Car - On street pay and display parking (unrestricted at weekends)

 

Journey Planner

Information

The Acme Project Space provides an opportunity for those artists who are part of our Residency & Awards Programme and our International Residencies Programme with a public space within which to develop projects, show new work and engage in a critical dialogue with a wider audience.

The programme of projects and exhibitions is developed in collaboration with those individual artists, who have already been through a selection process and aims to highlight the benefit artists gain from this support. The Acme Project Space therefore, is not currently able to accept unsolicited exhibition proposals from other artists.

Access and facilities

There is level and ramped access throughout the Acme Project Space. All printed material is available in a range of formats, please contact mail@acme.org.uk or 020 8981 6811 for further information. There are no public toilet facilities on site.

 

Upcoming

Love Enqvist

‘The World Turned Upside Down’ 6.2.2015 - 8.2.2015

 
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Thursday to Sunday 1pm to 6pm

Private View: Thursday 5 February, 6pm to 8pm

The World Turned Upside Down is an exhibition of new work by Iaspis 2013/14 residency artist Love Enqvist at the Acme Project Space. For this exhibition Enqvist has harvested radical gardening references using them to create an environment for imaginary gardens. Each of Enqvist’s layered references begins with an historical character, whose solitary obsession with gardens was inspired by a spiritual belief. The exhibition is a labyrinth of imagery and language, and at its centre is an invitation to create an imaginary garden through a hypnotic process. The title, taken from Leon Rosselson's folk song of the same name, references the 17th century movement the Diggers and introduces the concept that assumed knowledge can be 'turned upside down'.

The exhibition begins with evocative images: in one found image the wife of farmer and tree-shaper Axel Erlandson stands with an intricate geometric tree. In contrast, Enqvist’s work 'Axel Erlandson' (2014) records (on scarce 16mm film) the trees after Erlandson’s death. The branches have changed over time: straightened and rebelled without the work of the solitary sculptor, however they still retain their otherworldly allure.

Moving further into the exhibition imagery gives way to sound. In a darkened space, with a raised carpet, a voice carries a string of parallel metaphors. Inspired by the self-induced trances of the San Francisco Diggers and 18th century theologian Emanuel Swedenborg's 'correspondence' through gardens. 'Andramandoni' (2015) uses hypnotic language to discover what cannot be explored in imagery. Each listener finishes the narrative by building an image of his or her own garden.

Enqvist further explores the lapse between image and language in 'Magellania' (2014). Intertwining narrated moments of darkness with silent footage the artist tells the story of Cristina Calderón, the last speaker of the Yaghan language. Referencing Jules Verne's final book, this essay film rethinks the colonisation of language and image, suggesting instead that 'silence is not passive'.

Text by Olivia Leahy

 
 
 
 

Previous

Briony Anderson, George Charman, Bridget O’Gorman, Maria McKinney and We Colonised the Moon (Hagen Betzwieser and Sue Corke)

‘From a Studio Exchange’ 8.1.2015 - 25.1.2015

 
We Colonised the Moon, The Embassy of Summer (2013), Hand coloured etching, edition of 18
We Colonised the Moon, The Embassy of Summer (2013), Hand coloured etching, edition of 18
Maria McKinney, Memory Sticks, 3D printed sticks made from PLA (Poly Lactic Acid), Arduino board, LED lights, cable, waste paper bin
Briony Anderson, Studio (Fire Station London) March 2014. Photo: Piero Parisi
George Charman, hook, graphite powder on paper, 38cmx28.5cm
Bridget O'Gorman, The Silver (2013), hand formed sterling silver implements, stainless steel, wood, shelf size 119x28x90cm
 
 

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Thursday to Sunday 1pm to 6pm

Private View: Thursday 8 January, 6pm to 8pm

From a Studio Exchange brings together work by six artists - Briony Anderson, George Charman, Bridget O’Gorman, Maria McKinney and We Colonised the Moon (Hagen Betzwieser and Sue Corke) - who participated in an international work/live exchange in 2013 and 2014 between Acme Studios’ Fire Station work/live programme, London and the Fire Station Artists’ Studios, Dublin. The exchange provides a rent-free work/live space for a month, a travel bursary and the support of the host organisation.

For the exhibition each artist presents work that was developed or produced during their residency. In the first year of the exchange, Maria McKinney (Fire Station, Dublin) developed work that explores gestures from the hand. The results can be seen in her coral-like structures with emerging fingernails like armour or scales. In other work she has experimented with the idea of craft through the contemporary fabrication technique of 3D printing.

Hagen Betzwieser (Stuttgart, Germany) and Sue Corke (Fire Station, London), who work collaboratively on graphic art and installation projects as We Colonised the Moon, created 'The Embassy of Summer' during their exchange; a permanent installation on the north face of the Fire Station, Dublin, comprising nine nestboxes for pairs of swifts – representing an invitation into the future to return again and again.

Bridget O’Gorman's (Fire Station, Dublin) ‘The Silver’ (2013), installed as part of her solo exhibition We Are Suddenly Somewhere Else (Butler Gallery, Kilkenny, 2013), marks a point of reference for both her studio exchange and her future research that emerged from the residency. O’Gorman has pursued tangents where re-enactments and places (both physical and psychological) are imagined, described or reinterpreted; just as the residency with Acme provided an opportunity and the time to work in another studio space, in another city, this body of research also speculates upon duality, displacement and upon the simultaneous desire to be – or perhaps imposition of being – somewhere else.

George Charman (Fire Station, London) will present a series of drawings developed during his exchange, which consider the use of perspective as a tool to construct and dissect metaphysical space. Informed by historical research into interpretations of varying forms of perspective relating to architectural space, his work often responds to specific locations either in an historical sense or to the actual physical dimensions of place.

During her residency, Briony Anderson (Fire Station, London) developed work which continues to explore how landscape is represented in both imagery and text. Her work for From a Studio Exchange is in keeping with her use of pre-existing imagery, an important feature of her practice, conveying landscape second hand - almost as memory, and as a means to consider the evolving relationships between actual and imaged landscape and its re-presentation.

This work/live exchange prorgamme was established following an initiative, with Acme’s support, by artists on Acme's Fire Station Work/Live Programme. The exchange will continue as part of Acme Studio’s Residency and Awards Programme.

 
 

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Acme Studios
44 Copperfield Road
E3 4RR
T +44 (0)20 8981 6811
F +44 (0)20 8983 0567
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