ARTS - SOCIAL ISSUES

Reminiscences of a British artist group

Inaugurated in 1982 and dissolved in 1998, the seven-person Black Audio Film Collective (BAFC) is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential artist groups to emerge from Britain in recent years. John Akomfrah, Lina Gopaul, Avril Johnson, Reece Auguiste, Trevor Mathison, David Lawson and Edward George produced award winning film, photography, slide tape, video, installation, posters and interventions, much of which has never been exhibited in Britain.

Their first film Handsworth Songs won seven international awards in 1987; their second film Testament premiered at the Semaine de la Critique at Cannes International Film Festival in 1988; these and subsequent works such as Twilight City (1989) and The Last Angel of History (1995) staked a claim for a new kind of moving image work that was resolutely experimental and confidently internationalist.

Throughout their career, the BAFC worked within and between the media of art, film and television, participating in British survey exhibitions such as From Two Worlds (Whitechapel Gallery, 1986), The British Art Show (Hayward Gallery, 1990) as well as international exhibitions such as Documenta X (1997) and Documenta XI (2002).

The installation The Black Room will be reworked for the first time since 1996 and represented for a contemporary audience by the artists. Archival material and documents that place the groups’ practice in the artistic, cinematic, cultural and historical contexts of a changing Britain, will also be presented.

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