The Showroom

Larry Achiampong's performance, video & DJ set with Phoebe Collings-James


Artist Larry Achiampong presents Sunday's Best (2016) and invites artist Phoebe Collings-James for a sound session alongside her video Mother Tongue, Mother Master (2018). This audio-visual experience is accompanied by a performance with Christian Bravo & James Jordan Johnson activating Achiampong's Relic Traveller Flag.


As part of his current research Larry Achiampong is interested in the mutations of traditions and language that are birthed as a result of colonisation, and how they affect people today. In particular, the relationship with Christian imperialism and its impact on his tribe - The Ashanti. Sunday’s Best, considers how belief systems within the diaspora are inflected by these colonial histories in the present day. The work is a confluence of the vivid sounds and images of praise and worship sessions in a Ghanaian community church married with the stark interiors of a Roman Catholic Church. Documented across a number of sites in London, Sunday’s Best maps out a narrative of coming to terms with the incongruence of faith practices that straddle western and non-western influences. Achiampong's solo and collaborative projects employ imagery, aural and visual archives, live performance and sound to explore ideas surrounding class, cross-cultural and post-digital identity. With works that examine his communal and personal heritage – in particular, the intersection between pop culture and the postcolonial position, Achiampong crate-digs the vaults of history. These investigations examine constructions of ‘the self’ by splicing the audible and visual materials of personal and interpersonal archives, offering multiple perspectives that reveal entrenched socio-political contradictions in contemporary society. He’s

Image: Larry Achiampong, Sunday’s Best, 2016. 4K Video (still). Commissioned by Logan Centre Exhibitions Chicago. Courtesy of the Artist and Copperfield London


Larry Achiampong is currently artist in residence at Somerset House Studios (London) and is a Jarman Award nominated artist (2018). He completed a BA in Mixed Media Fine Art at University of Westminster in 2005 and an MA in Sculpture at The Slade School of Fine Art in 2008. He lives and works in London, and has been a tutor on the Photography MA programme at Royal College of Art since 2016. Achiampong currently serves on the Board of Trustees at Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) and is represented by C Ø P P E R F I E L D.

Phoebe Collings-James presents a sound session accompanied by a screening of Mother Tongue, Mother Master. Moving beyond a binary, and into poetics or fission for subversion, the 16mm video work Mother Tongue, Mother Master exposes the erotics of shame and the axis it bares within the body. The voice is bound by constraints put onto the body and its histories, different modes for a voice reach for the possibility of a subjecthood, of agency, resistance in slippery blackness, from the starting point of born objecthood, commodity.


Phoebe Collings-James mends this sentiment to her film Mother Tongue, Mother Master (2018). Filmed from her shoulders up, the artist wears identical little bells tied to the red plastic of a bag to hold some sort of citrus. The bag lightly pushes her face inward, her neck balancing, she shakes her head and it becomes clear that there is a parallax between the soundtrack and her movements, yet somehow they feel completely connected. As she moves her head back and forth, forward and backward, moving the bells swinging in unsealed unison, it becomes hard to tell if she is drowning out the soundtrack or if it is drowning out her. She continues to let the bells move freely, opening and closing her mouth, feeling the weight of the bells and then suddenly, as the soundtrack wanes so too does Collings-James, until she takes off the instrument.

Rindon Johnson 

This programme takes place within Theaster Gates's installation Black Image Corporation presented by Prada, The Vinyl Factory, and The Showroom. Collective Intimacy is inspired by Gates’s ethos of collaboration and The Showroom’s commitment to togetherness and communal knowledge, taking on multiple trans-located narratives of the current Black experience as a point of departure for a cosmopolitan worldview. In response to Gates’s reactivated spaces in Chicago and how his socially engaged projects enable communities to connect and grow, Collective Intimacy aims to create a new space for people to gather, listen, converse, and contemplate amongst a fusion of art, design, music, and everyday life.

Black Image Corporation presents distinct spaces creating a myriad of possibilities for collective engagements, featuring an installation of Gates’s art objects, furnishings, and new films that capture the methodologies of urban renewal and community activation founding his practice. Pieces from Chicago imbued with powerful histories, uses, and localities resonate with distinctive lounge design from here in London – like a love letter between two cities, under the roof of a new House. Taking place at both 180 The Strand and The Showroom, Collective Intimacy hosts interdisciplinary interventions by artists, musicians, designers, writers, thinkers, collectives and members of the public, who are all invited to distort notions of selfhood and togetherness in the spirit of creating a global community.

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