20 December 2006

The Ghosts of Songs: A Retrospective of the Black Audio Film Collective 1982 - 1998 has been curated by The Otolith Group in partnership with FACT, The Arnolfini Bristol, The Whitechapel Gallery, IniVA (The Institute of International Visual Arts) and Artsadmin London.

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). Curated and produced by Kodwo Eshun and Anjalika Sagar of THE OTOLITH GROUP and designed by David Adjaye of Adjaye Associates THE GHOSTS OF SONGSā€¦ is the first retrospective to explore the significance of BAFC's entire body of work, it reveals the collective as dynamic, articulate artists, dedicated to engaging with the past, present and future of memory, media and moving image.

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. Touring THE GHOSTS OF SONGS: A Retrospective on Black Audio Film Collective 1982 - 1998 opens at FACT 02 February-01 April 2007. In 2007, the exhibition will tour to Arnolfini 27 April - 22 June. London venue to be confirmed.