Akinbode Akinbiyi, Wedding, Berlin, 2005, Aus der Serie: "African Quarter", seit den 1990er Jahren © Akinbode Akinbiyi
Akinbode Akinbiyi / Being, Seeing, Wandering
Jun 8 – Oct 14, 2024
Berlinische Galerie
Berlin, Germany

Akinbode Akinbiyi (*1946 Oxford, England) has won the Hannah Höch Prize for 2024. Featuring some 120 photographs drawn from several series – two of these on show in Germany for the first time – the exhibition at the Berlinische Galerie offers insights into an oeuvre covering five decades. This first solo show for a German museum is the result of close collaboration with the artist.

The photographer and author of global renown, who has lived and worked in Berlin since 1991, wanders the megacities of this world capturing life on the streets. Berlin, Brasília, Durban, Lagos – urban space is his workstation. He experiences it as an “interminal labyrinth” or, as he phrased it in 2009, “a maze of never ending streets that coalesce into uncountable pathways”. Akinbiyi photographs what he observes, predominantly in analogue black-and-white. His pictures are visual metaphors rich in nuance, addressing cultural change and social exclusion but also the political, social and architectural impact of colonialism. In these images, he conveys a world view that shuns stereotyping and depicts without discrimination.

Akinbode Akinbiyi understands photography as a “writing with light”. His images are not planned. Instead he trusts to serendipity, trapping the moment with the lens of his analogue Rolleiflex. Diagonal, shifting perspectives highlight the mode of genesis, set to the rhythm of a walker moving through the city. The frame is defined by the solid square of a medium format. The atmosphere is dense: urban energy, smells and sounds seem to infuse the visual record. At the same time, these photographs are richly layered with poetry and themes; they invite us to read them, to untangle those compact layers. Akinbiyi selects from these individual shots to arrange his series, some of which evolve over decades.

Akinbode Akinbiyi / Being, Seeing, Wandering
Jun 8 – Oct 14, 2024
Berlinische Galerie
Berlin, Germany

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