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Purple (2017 Video Installation)

From EverybodyWiki Bios & Wiki

ArtistJohn Akomfrah
TypeInstallation art; video art
LocationThe Curve, Barbican Centre

Purple is a 2017 installation and video art piece created by British artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah. The piece was commissioned by the Barbican, London and co-commissioned by Bildmuseet Umeå (Sweden), TBA21-Academy, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston and The Berardo Collection Museum, Lisbon.[1]


Purple is an immersive six-channel video installation addressing climate change, human communities and the wilderness, exploring a number of ideas including animal extinctions, the memory of ice, plastic pollution in the ocean and global warming.[2]

It is the follow-up to Akomfrah's three-channel 2015 film Vertigo Sea, which exhibited at the 56th Venice Biennale, and forms the second chapter in a planned quartet of films addressing the aesthetics and politics of matter.


It opened in London at The Curve, Barbican Centre on 6 October 2017 and exhibits until 7 January 2018.


It was shot in 10 countries affected by rising temperatures and global warming (including Alaska, Greenland and the volcanic Marquesas Islands) and combined with archival footage.[3]


The Daily Telegraph gave the piece 4 out of 5 stars, writing, "Purple sees Akomfrah back in his element. Akomfrah drives home his concerns with compelling clarity, sparking off chains of association that are grimly disturbing while offering a reminder of all the beauty that we stand to lose."[4]

Sean O'Hagan (journalist) of The Guardian wrote: "Purple eschews a linear narrative for an almost overwhelming montage of imagery and sound...it requires the viewer to surrender to sensory overload, while remaining alert to the often oblique connections being made throughout. Akomfrah's ambition is nothing less than epic."[5]


  1. "John Akomfrah | Artists | Lisson Gallery". www.lissongallery.com. Retrieved 2017-10-06.
  2. "John Akomfrah | Barbican". www.barbican.org.uk. Retrieved 2017-10-06.
  3. O'Hagan, Sean (2017-10-01). "John Akomfrah: 'Progress can cause profound suffering'". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 2017-10-06.
  4. Judah, Hettie (2017-10-06). "Ravishing reminders of what we all stand to lose - Purple, John Akomfrah, Barbican Curve, review". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2017-10-08.
  5. O'Hagan, Sean (2017-10-01). "John Akomfrah: 'Progress can cause profound suffering'". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 2017-10-08.

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