Akinbode Akinbiyi on the Berlinische Galerie | EUROtoday

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Wenn man Glück hat und in Berlin lebt, dann kann man Akinbode Akinbiyi bei der Arbeit treffen. Man kann ihn dann sehen, wie er – stets akkurat gekleidet – zum Beispiel die Fotokabine am U-Bahnhof Hermannplatz in Berlin-Neukölln mit seiner alten Spiegelreflexkamera fotografiert. Er erzählt, dass ihn fasziniere, dass sie immer auf eine andere Weise kaputt sei: Mal ist der höhenverstellbare Sitz herausgerissen, mal der Vorhang zerfetzt. Akinbiyi dokumentiert alle Zustände des Verfalls und die daraufhin rührend verlässlich einsetzende Wiederauferstehung.

Er wurde 1946 in Oxford als Sohn nigerianischer Studenten geboren, die schon bald nach Lagos zurückkehrten, die Stadt, die er am besten kennt, wie er sagt. Die Stadt, in der er jedoch am längsten lebt, ist Berlin. Und so ist es nur angemessen und auch allerhöchste Zeit, ihm endlich in der Stadt einen Preis zuteil werden zu lassen, die er seit 1991 täglich auf stundenlangen Streifzügen durchquert und fotografisch begleitet. Anlässlich des Hannah-Höch- Preises für sein Lebenswerk widmet ihm die Berlinische Galerie eine umfassende Einzelausstellung.

Dieser Text stammt aus der Frankfurter Allgemeinen Sonntagszeitung.

One shouldn’t be fooled by his choice to {photograph} principally in black and white and assume that these are nostalgic snapshots of a metropolis and its inhabitants that inform of a Berlin that was nonetheless poor however attractive. The topic of Akinbiyi's images is neither apolitical nor regionally anchored. It just isn’t about capturing the previous, however moderately about higher understanding the current. When you stroll by way of the exhibition with him, he himself repeatedly factors out the issues within the image that can not be seen. That the constructing behind the constructing he photographed is definitely the attention-grabbing factor; the one that is simply leaving the image, the context wherein the photographs are embedded. Akinbiyi doesn’t compose his footage; moderately, he sees his pictures as a sort of dance with actuality. He appears, appears away and appears once more earlier than urgent the shutter button.

Akinbode Akinbiyi, Kreuzberg, Berlin, 2016
Akinbode Akinbiyi, Kreuzberg, Berlin, 2016Akinbode Akinbiyi

His footage should not footage that particularly seize Berlin. Rather, they level past Berlin. He repeatedly takes pictures in Lagos, but additionally in South Africa and Brazil – in all of the megacities of the world, he focuses on what is definitely missed, what is barely apparently banal. In Berlin, he returns time and again to the African Quarter within the Wedding district. The road names there nonetheless remind us of those that drove colonization. Today, that’s slowly altering, and those that resisted are discovering their place there. Nevertheless, he nonetheless creates footage whose material solely appears weird at first, such because the signal “Permanent Colony Togo”, which factors to an allotment backyard settlement. The particular nature of his work spreads out in such calm scenes, which somebody who lives there now not sees and questions. Although Akinbiyi himself walks by way of the streets day by day, he all the time appears at all the things as if he had been seeing it for the primary time.

Akinbode Akinbiyi
Akinbode AkinbiyiRebecca Wilton

Akinbiyi got here to Heidelberg in 1971 to work on a doctorate on Franz Kafka and Max Frisch and to turn into a author. Then, by probability, he found images by way of a good friend. He sees it as his literary approach of coping with what he sees. He speaks warmly and exactly, typically with real amazement about his personal footage, wherein he himself discovers one thing new – free from self-indulgent emotion, with real curiosity.

Akinbode Akinbiyi, Victoria Islands, Lagos, 2006
Akinbode Akinbiyi, Victoria Islands, Lagos, 2006Akinbode Akinbiyi

Perhaps one of the crucial essential pictures within the exhibition dates from 2001. It exhibits the curator Okwui Enwezor, who died in 2019, on the opening of his groundbreaking exhibition “The Short Century” in Berlin's Gropius-Bau. An exhibition devoted to the independence and liberation actions in Africa between 1945 and 1994 and included the African continent in a story of European modernism. In the image that Akinbiyi took at the moment, Enwezor is standing behind a microphone in a sensible swimsuit, subsequent to him two essential gents and on the fringe of the image a woman in a swimsuit who’s busily writing one thing down on a notepad. Perhaps an artwork critic. Behind Enwezor stretches a huge image throughout the image. It exhibits Princess Alexandra of England and the primary Nigerian Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa, in 1960 in the course of the founding ceremony to mark Nigeria's independence from England.

Akinbode Akinbiyi, From the series: “African Quarter”
Akinbode Akinbiyi, From the collection: “African Quarter”Akinbode Akinbiyi

This picture, which appears virtually unremarkable right here, reveals a lot up to date historical past, interweaves so many alternative tales, all of which Akinbiyi himself solely noticed and deciphered a lot later, that it may be seen as attribute of his work. His pictures appear simply accessible. But in the event you get entangled with them, you may uncover in all of them the questions which can be being negotiated politically at this time. Questions that go far past the traditional query of images, who’s whom, and in addition level far past Berlin.