AboutDoug Fishbone often uses satire and humour within his film, performance and installation works to examine consumer culture and the mass media in a critical and disarming way; his recent project furthers this exploration.
For his second exhibition at the gallery the artist presents a series of photographs produced in parallel to Elmina, his groundbreaking feature-length film launching at Tate Britain in October 2010. Shot on location in Ghana during the filming of Elmina the new photographs examine the relationship between still photography and cinema whilst exploring the narrative paradox and enigmas of the film still.
Elmina connects two vastly different cultural situations Western conceptual art and the African home video market. Filmed in Ghana with major Ghanaian celebrities, the movie's only artistic intervention is the insertion of Fishbone, a white American artist, as the lead role in a completely African production. The work fully adopts Ghanaian film making conventions, taking advantage of the shared language used and the low cost structure of the Ghanaian home video industry.
The film and photographs continue Fishbone's investigation into the relativity of perception and understanding. The film questions how we interact with cinema and fiction and examines the boundaries which audiences demand of narrative within that context. Throughout Elmina no comment is made upon the presence of a racially and culturally incongruous actor playing the lead role of a black Ghanaian. The artist tests the viewers' preconceptions and demands a suspension of disbelief to accept his substitution within a popular Ghanaian film. Remove some of the filmic conventions and deny the whole narrative, and the viewer is forced to read and contemplate the still images in a different manner.
The body of work investigates a range of questions about art, relativity, race and globalization whilst examining ideas of representation and asking how reception differs depending on context and channels of reception.
The project is made more provocative by the surrounding of its release, Elmina previews to a Western art audience at Tate Britain. Concurrent to its release in an institutional setting Elmina is available to the African cinema world as a mainstream feature and for mass-market sale on Ghanaian streets and in local markets. The film will also be sold alongside the photographs at ROKEBY as a collectable and inexpensive artwork and within immigrant African communities as an affordable DVD and Video Compact Disc, calling into question the film's status as an art object, and the way art is normally marketed and collected.
Doug Fishbone was born in New York in 1969. He earned an MA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths College, London in 2003. Selected solo exhibitions include Rokeby, London (2009), Gimpel Fils, London (2006) and 30,000 Bananas in Trafalgar Square (2004). Selected group exhibitions include Rude Britannia: British Comic Art, Tate Britain (2010); Busan Biennale Expenditure, Busan, South Korea (2008); Laughing in a Foreign Language, Hayward Gallery, London (2008); British Art Show 6, Newcastle, Bristol, Nottingham and Manchester (2006). He performs regularly at both international and UK venues, including appearances at ICA and Southbank Centre, London. Fishbone lives and works in London.
The film was made possible with the generous support of the Zabludowicz Collection, Wendy Fisher, and Tamer Amr.
Elmina was produced in collaboration with Revele Films, Ghana.