Oladele Ajiboye Bamgboye
An Exit Perhaps
Photo, installation and Video artist. Born in Benin, Nigeria in 1963. Grew up and studied in Glasgow, Scotland. Has held solo shows in Scotland, Estonia and Germany, and has taken part in major exhibition including Documenta X; In/Sight: African Photography, 1940 to the Present at theSolomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and Inklusion/Exklusion, Art in the Age of post-colonialism and Global Migration at the Reininghaus and Künstlerhaus, Graz, Austria. Winner of several awards including grants of the Scottish and British Art Councils as well as the Gulbenkian Foundation New Horizons Bursary for new ideas in film making. Lives and works in London.
AN EXIT PERHAPS, as presented in the Völkerkunde Museum is a reworking of an earlier work of the same title that was based on my immigration to Germany during the Euphoria of a New Europe. This was a Europe that promised 'open' borders with greater cultural co-operation within its geographical limits, heralding the age of a New European Identity. It is therefore apt that the work should concern itself with migration across borders. In particular I was interested in the metaphor of the flowing of water across artificial boundaries and analysing whether the methods used to control the flow of water was akin to that of controlling the flux of people. I was interested, as a European in the events surrounding the German Reunification, and in particular that of the loss of identity of the former GDR. Gone was the Adler, referenced by the truncated Eagle'' wing in the first duratrans that is a close up of a hand that is apparently flapping in the wind. Gone also was the old GDR Flag, and the driving force for this migration of people towards the West from the East was economic. The might of the West German Economy is such that after absorbing the inefficiencies of the GDR Economy the Deutsche mark only dipped slightly in value. The vast wall, reminiscent of a giant bar code in which the video of people and water flowing along with the two photographic light boxes is a testament to economic might. In the last image, a young man questions us by his defiant stance. Shall we read his fortune as he displays his palm to us? Is he asking us to halt, or merely acknowledging our presence? I decided to adapt this work in the colours of the Austrian flag, since Austria is taking precedence of the European Union, amongst controversial conditions. Many feel that identities are threatened, economics must rule the day, yet my question is that now that Austria is in the EU, what then constitutes the Austrian identity? Are questions of migration still to be tabled for discussion? Is Austria going to put up a wall in order to stop migration across its border in an attempt to uphold a purported European ideal? My work aims to raise these and many more questions, and deal with real situations that affect us all.
"Unmasking" will present the new work that questions the normalized habits of viewing museum objects, by displaying the apparent description of those objects in their absence. Can their trace still be experienced? Does this trace in the absence of the object that was never there, enable us to forget about the banality of obsession with the "original gesture"? Are the origin and the linguistic framework that surrounds the objects more important than the object itself, and the collection that it resides in?
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