Ayọ̀ Akínwándé; The Artist isn’t Present

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From March 23 to May 5, 2019, the Many Studios will present Ayọ̀ Akínwándé’s first solo exhibition titled The Artist isn’t Present in the United Kingdom. The artist will borrow elements of building construction to explore his own process of making new work. For the purpose of this exhibition, Akínwándé has interrupted the notion of completion, situating the viewer in his working environment. The exhibition is under construction.

This work stems from Akínwándé’s background in architecture, incorporating design processes in the spatial sectioning of these ideas to evoke both intimacy and the monumental. Using materials found on construction site such as corrugated zinc sheets, wood, and stone, the artist mimics the restriction areas on construction sites to signify the invisibility of the artists’ process to their audience.

In amongst the rubble, the artist presents new video work based on his ongoing research into markets. The video explores ways of marking time across cultures, using the market system of the Igbos – in present day South-East Nigeria – as a starting point. The Gallow Gate is located in an original Barras Market building, and our geography and relationship to the largest outdoor market in Glasgow became a point of interest to the artist. As part of this research, Akínwándé travelled to various markets in the city of Enugu and Abakaliki, places where he had spend significant time a decade earlier as a graduate.

In this body of work, the artist moves away from his extensive study into the power structures and vexed relationship between leadership and citizenship in Nigeria, whilst still closely considering the experiences of people in the built environment. Akínwándé’s work encompasses installation, sculpture, sound, video, photography and digital archives, to debate the Nigerian socio-political reality and the propagation of citizenship.

The Artist isn’t Present applies the same satirical approach to exhibition making whilst disrupting the conventional relationship between artists and audiences.


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