Ayo Akingbade is an artist, writer and director who lives and works in London. Akingbade works predominantly with moving image, addressing notions of power, urbanism and stance. Interested in the fluid boundaries between the self and the other, she gathers local and cultural experiences in intimate and playful interpretations.
In recognition of her exceptional work, Akingbade received the Brewers Award in 2020 and was invited to present new and recent works in Towner’s ground floor Studio 2.
In this exhibition, Akingbade presents a duo of films: 55 Days (2022) and Red Soleil (2021). These works reflect the aspirations and ambitions of an emerging artist navigating the challenges and opportunities of daily life.
Shot on 16mm film, 55 Days is a portrait of New York City at dusk. Windows of high-rise apartments, brownstones and bodegas illuminated like light boxes, offer a glimpse of neighbouring occupants. The accompanying audio combines ambient sounds of the city with excerpts from the artist’s diary. Inspired by Chantal Akerman's New York films and lifelong creative pursuit of experimentation, Akingbade’s short film is underlined by a sense of isolation and displacement in what would otherwise appear a dream scenario.
Filmed locally at Peacehaven, on England’s south-east coast, Red Soleil traces the journey of a young woman who has decided to chase the sun. Looking out across the Channel her image dissolves over footage of the setting sun, a nod to French filmmaker Éric Rohmer’s The Green Ray/ Le Rayon vert (1986).
The confined, close interiors and internal thoughts conveyed in 55 Days are positioned in contrast with the expansive environs of Red Soleil. As the artist describes: In many ways the two films played together act as a duet, or duette, of Sun and Moon.
Listen to a curated playlist by the artist and filmmaker Ayo Akingbade of 20 songs by musicians including Sade, Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan and Grace Jones, which inspired the works shown in Duette - an exhibition at Towner until 22 January 2023.
Ayo Akingbade: Duette will be accompanied by the following event:
Duelle (1976) screening with introduction by Ayo Akingbade
Thursday 27 October, 7.00pm
£9.50/£8.50 Concessions & Towner Members
Introduced by the artist Ayo Akingbade, Duelle (Une quarantaine) is a 1976 experimental fantasy drama directed by Jacques Rivette. The film stars Juliet Berto as the Queen of the Night who battles the Queen of the Sun (Bulle Ogier) over a magical diamond that will allow the winner to remain on earth.