1:54 will showcase 40 leading specialist galleries from 18 countries and more than 130 African and African diasporan artists. Highlights of the special projects programme include the first major UK solo exhibition of late Malian photographer Malick Sidibé, new sculptures by Zak Ové in the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court and a presentation of The Arab Spring Notebook by artist Ibrahim El Salahi.
FORUM will explore the generative slippages between contemporary art, photography, fashion, object and furniture design, architecture and urbanism. Through a variety of discursive forms including lectures, discussions and screenings, the programme will demonstrate the influence and confluence of African perspectives in contemporary art and design with that of diverse aesthetics and material practices around the world.
The programme aims to address three key questions: how are material forms being radically reconfigured or redeployed by African and African diasporan practitioners; what kinds of narratives are emerging out of contemporary practices working between art and design; and how are interdisciplinary collaborations producing new modes of engagement with material culture, popular culture, history, politics and ethics?
As part of a wide appraisal of interdisciplinary material practice, FORUM will explore the proliferation of contemporary channels and modes of distribution – from the Internet to the various self-organising strategies afforded by the digital – to question how resources themselves are being repurposed, and how artists and designers are responding to these shifts within 'material' classifications.
The keynote speaker for 2016 is Ekow Eshun, a writer and broadcaster, and former artistic director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London. Other speakers include Azu Nwagbogu (Founding Director, African Artists' Foundation and LagosPhoto Festival) and Aaron Kohn (Executive Director, Museum of African Design); curators Amelie Klein (Vitra Design Museum), Kerryn Greenberg (Tate Modern) and André Magnin (MAGNIN-A); architects Rashid Ali (RA Projects), Glenn DeRoche (Adjaye Associates) and Kunlé Adeyemi (NLÉ), and Mark Rappolt (Editor in Chief, ArtReview). Participating artists and designers includeSerge Attukwei Clottey, Michele Mathison, Joël Andrianomearisoa, Phoebe Boswell, Ifeanyi Oganwu, Karo Akpokiere,Hassan Hajjaj and Driss Ouadahi.
Koyo Kouoh says: "In an African postcolonial perspective, challenging the paradigms of creative disciplines dovetails with a critical examination of legacy and identity. Experimentation and play, as well as subversion, are crucial to exploding cultural and historical platitudes about Africa."
FORUM Film is a related daily film programme screening artist works and documentaries. The full schedule will be announced at the end of September. No booking is required.
FORUM and FORUM Film will take place in the Screening Room in the South Wing. Access to FORUM is free with admission to 1:54.