Sublime Seas: John Akomfrah and J.M.W. Turner
San Francisco Area
This exhibition presents the U.S. premiere of Ghana-born British artist John Akomfrah’s Vertigo Sea. Debuting at the Venice Biennale in 2015, this captivating, three-channel video installation encompasses fictional narrative, natural history documentary, and film essay, referencing Ralph Waldo Emerson, Herman Melville’s Moby Dick (1851) and Heathcote Williams’s poem Whale Nation (1988), among others. Taking the viewer on an immersive aural and visual odyssey that explores the greed and cruelty of the whaling industry, the transatlantic slave trade, and the current refugee crisis, this intricately woven cinematic triptych positions the current crisis of refugees across the globe in a longer historic perspective of race, migration, and commerce.