Gideon Appah: Forgotten, Nudes, LandscapesVisit Website
Forgotten, Nudes, Landscapes is a newly commissioned exhibition by Gideon Appah. Appah’s paintings merge his interests in Ghanaian popular culture with his own imagination, dreams, and fantasies. Newspaper clippings, entertainment posters, and films spanning the 1950s through the 1980s became source material for Appah’s exploration of the rise and fall of Ghanian cinema and leisure culture.
Throughout Forgotten, Nudes, Landscapes, Appah presents scenes suggesting a cycle of life: the brand new, the old, and the dying. Many figures are painted smoking, both as an homage to nightlife culture and as a bad omen. Appah’s work speaks to a sense of loss – from the death of cinema to the death of democracy itself. Appah presents people at various stages of day-to-day life, from their public selves to their most intimate private moments, at times even blurring the lines between the living and dead.
One central work in the exhibition, ROXY 2 (2021), recalls Ghana’s famous Roxy Cinema, in Accra, the capital city. Placing figures in a recognizable architectural space, this work and others serve as an homage to Ghana’s old cinema houses, which were once at the center of social life, particularly during the country’s struggle for independence from colonial rule in the 1950s and ’60s. Popular Ghanian films serve as source material for environments and characters within these paintings. For Appah, these films allow him to grasp how cultural appetite evolves and creates memories that define people and cultures.
Forgotten, Nudes, Landscapes is Appah’s first institutional solo exhibition, curated by the ICA’s Curator Amber Esseiva. This exhibition was produced with the support of Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York.