A brush with... Larry Achiampong

In this first episode of a new series of A brush with…, Ben Luke talks to Larry Achiampong about his influences—from writers to film-makers, musicians and, of course, other artists—and the cultural experiences that have shaped his life and work. Achiampong was born in London in 1984 to parents from Ghana, and he explores his personal and communal heritage through media including film, sculpture, installation, sound and performance. He uses diverse visual languages, drawn from popular culture like gaming, comics and Hollywood movies, as well as video art and conceptualism, to explore the legacies of colonisation and entrenched inequalities in contemporary society relating to class, gender and race. He veers from documentary to speculative fiction, often within the same piece. Achiampong discusses the profound early influence of Adrian Piper’s art and the films of Spike Lee, the poetry of Claudia Rankine, how he draws on video games and comics as well as art, and his rejection of the term Afrofuturism. Plus, he gives insight into his life in the studio, and reflects on our usual questions, including the ultimate: what is art for?

Larry Achiampong: Wayfinder, BALTIC, Gateshead, UK, until 29 October 2023; Larry Achiampong and David Blandy: Genetic Automata, Wellcome Collection, London, until 11 February 2024.

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