Ilja Karilampi – West African Road Movie
Ilja Karilampi and Agassi F. Bangura transform Erik Nordenhakes gallery into a makeshift Ghanaian Marines camp. The installation includes a viewing area, military leafing, and new wall works. The centre piece of the exhibition is the collaboratively produced video with the descriptive title “Westafrican Roadmovie”, in which Agassi and Ilja document their journey through Ghana, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. The visitor is taken along the adventure as if it were another GoPro-travel- experience documentary. The super-condensed storyline of the movie eliminates distances and time that lay between the visited places. Different neighbourhoods merge into one; a back alley in Accra eventually leads to the beach of Conakry, and behind every corner lies a makeshift gym or a military camp. It is as if Karilampi’s and Bangura’s presence suffice alone to incorporate the Westafrican streets into one virtual neighbourhood.
The allure of Ilja Karilampi’s artworks is that vague sensation of recognition. Similar to listening to a song while walking home from the club at 6 am and suddenly feeling as if you were in the music video. The world is yours and you blend into that world.
Agassi F Banguras performative practice takes him from Frankfurt am Main to far-flung places. Whenever you look at their individual works and projects you get the impression that Paris, Frankfurt, Geneva, Stockholm, Berlin, Accra are in the same neighbourhood and that brunch in London comes right after a club-night in the outskirts of Zurich. Ilja Karilampi move and leave in every corner of the world artworks as if he would be tagging along the outskirts of his virtual neighbourhood where you know the kids that hang out in the park after dark, the club that stays open after curfew, and the old guys drinking coffee at 5am in the shop at the gas station. And just like some musicians who constantly work on remixing their samples, the artists repurpose visual material from everyday life (internet memes, lyrics, brand and taxi logos, flags, writings, notes, graffiti) to construct their own world and invite us in.