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Harold Offeh


Harold performing Covers

Output Type:

Exhibitions (M), Performances (I)


Performance, Identity, Embodiment

Covers is an internationally recognised performance project by artist Harold Offeh. Initiated in 2008, the project has evolved through major commissions from The Studio Museum, Harlem USA in 2014 and the Live Art Development Agency, London in 2015. Covers uses the artist’s body, durational actions and physical re-enactment to build on established performance methodologies of the 1970s by artists such as Adrian Piper and Marina Abramovic. Through photography, video and live performance — Offeh re-enacts archival album sleeve photographs by black singers from the 1970s and 80s, creating static, durational, tableaux poses. Covers, innovates through its use of performance strategies to re-activate historical popular cultural images. In collapsing live and documented elements Offeh makes visible the mediation and power of the photographic image to fix and shape identity.

In 2017 a new video installation series was developed for the touring group exhibition, Untitled: art on the conditions of our time at New Art Exchange in Nottingham, UK. One of the videos was also included in the exhibition, Tous, des sangs-mêlés (All mixed-bloods) at MAC VAL, Museum of Contemporary Art in Val de Marne, France. Featuring over 60 international artists, the exhibition and accompanying publication investigates the inherent issues of what cultural identity means.

Exhibition Opening:

13th January 2017. Untitled: art on the conditions of our time at New Art Exchange in Nottingham, UK / 21 April 2017. Tous, des sangs-mêlés (All mixed-bloods) at MAC VAL, France


Performance, Re-enactment, Identity, Archive, Photography

The most moving and touching is undoubtedly the video of Harold Offeh: in his bathroom, in balance and naked, the artist tries to mimic the pose of Grace Jones on the cover of the album Island Life. Deconstructing the cliché of the black sculptural woman with the oiled body, it also explodes the partitioning of the genres. Another way to mix. (Translation from French original text.)

Clémentine Mercier, 18 June 2017

BBC Radio 3: "Free Thinking" Interview

Harold Offeh beams himself down for the camera as a long-limbed and lithe disconaut Grace Jones.

Holland Cotter, ‘The Shadows Took Shape’ exhibition review, New York Times 14 Nov 2013

Tous, des sangs-mêlés (All mixed-bloods) Exhibition at MAC VAL, France, 2017

L'exposition collective du MAC VAL

Paul Goodwin in discussion artists Appau Junior Boakye-Yiadom and Ima-Abasi Okon