serge attukwei clottey hangs tapestry of plastic gallon containers at the venice biennale

serge attukwei clottey hangs tapestry of plastic gallon containers at the venice biennale

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‘Time and chance’ spotlights kufuor gallons

 

Inside the canopied cloisters of the Arsenale at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2023, Ghanaian artist Serge Attukwei Clottey cuts up recycled plastic yellow gallon containers into squared pieces and patches them up together with copper and silver wires until he unfolds a grand tapestry for his installationTime and Chance’.

 

The lengthy carpet gets hauled over, and the artist suspends his sculptural work above the seaweed-hued water of Venice. Through the brightly lit tapestry, the artist visually retells the routine of Ghana, and parts of modern Africa, in seeking to gather, receive, and acquire basic needs such as water through his artistic concept ‘Afrogallonism.’ Clottey’s use of bright yellow and recycled plastic gallon containers conceals an underlying backstory that the artists seamlessly spotlights in the international architecture exhibition.

 

Each piece in the tapestry comes from a type of container known as Kufuor Gallon, named after Ghana’s former President John Kufuor. Weaving the installation with other recycled materials alludes to the water shortages that occurred in Ghana during President Kufuour’s governance in the early 2000s. In this period, residents were seen carrying the yellow plastic containers or Kufuor gallons, even trekking long distances at times, to collect water.

serge attukwei clottey afrogallonism
Serge Attukwei Clottey, Time and Chance | header image and photo by Marco Zorzanello | images courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

 

 

serge attukwei clottey manifests ‘afrogallonism’

 

Responding to Venice Architecture Biennale 2023’ theme of The Laboratory of the Future, Serge Attukwei Clottey has constructed an iteration of his ‘Afrogallonism’ project, installed along the upper support structure of the Gaggiandre. The sculpture’s shape is defined by its own weight, levitated by strings and hovering a few inches above the water which catches its sunshine reflection catching on its surface. A more close-up view of Clottey’s sculpture can be scrutinized inside the Corderie, hanging as a continual fragment of his more sizable work.

 

The symbolic work may remind viewers of the advantage they have in life such as easy access to clean water for everyday use.  Through his site-specific installation, Clottey also explores the relationship between the prevalence of yellow gallons with regard to consumption and necessity in the life of Ghana and modern Africa. Clottey’s ‘Afrogallonism’ concept confronts global material culture through the cutting, drilling, stitching, and melting of repurposed, discarded, and culturally symbolic materials that are often dear to the artist and his homeland. 

 

Clottey works across installation, performance, photography, painting, and sculpture, exploring personal and political narratives rooted in histories of trade and migration. His sculptural installations shape a visual arrangement whose elements inquire into the languages of form and abstraction. By placing the tapestry inside the Gaggiandre, Serge Attukwei Clottey melds and investigates the relationship between ‘Afrogallonism’ and the historic shipyard Venetian architecture of the Gaggiandre.

serge attukwei clottey hangs tapestry of plastic gallon containers at the venice biennale
photo by Marco Zorzanello

serge attukwei clottey hangs tapestry of plastic gallon containers at the venice biennale
image © designboom

serge attukwei clottey hangs tapestry of plastic gallon containers at the venice biennale
image © designboom

serge attukwei clottey hangs tapestry of plastic gallon containers at the venice biennale
image © designboom

serge-attukwei-clottey-afrogallonism-venice-biennale-designboom-ban

photo by Marco Zorzanello

serge attukwei clottey hangs tapestry of plastic gallon containers at the venice biennale
photo by Marco Zorzanello

serge attukwei clottey hangs tapestry of plastic gallon containers at the venice biennale
photo by Andrea Avezzù

serge attukwei clottey hangs tapestry of plastic gallon containers at the venice biennale
photo by Andrea Avezzù

serge attukwei clottey hangs tapestry of plastic gallon containers at the venice biennale
photo by Andrea Avezzù

serge-attukwei-clottey-afrogallonism-venice-biennale-designboom-ban2

photo by Andrea Avezzù

 

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image © designboom
image © designboom
image © designboom
image © designboom
image © designboom
image © designboom
image © designboom
image © designboom
image © designboom
image © designboom
photo by Andrea Avezzù
photo by Andrea Avezzù
photo by Marco Zorzanello
photo by Marco Zorzanello

project info:

 

name: Time and Chance

artist: Serge Attukwei Clottey

event: Venice Architecture Biennale 2023

location: The Gaggiandre in Arsenale at Sestiere Castello, Campo Della Tana 2169/F, Venice, Italy

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