Thursday, February 04, 2010

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Kofi Forson met with Lisa Eickholt at the Eickholt Gallery located in Soho, New York in 2003 as per the invitation of TAFA, an Eickholt Gallery artist. Lisa was fascinated by Kofi’s depictions of Euro-American women in the Na├»ve form of German Expressionism. His first show with the Eickholt Gallery came later that year in a group show with graduates from Pratt University.

After following up on requests from Lisa to visit the gallery, Kofi became a frequent visitor at the gallery. He went from exhibiting art in group shows to hosting art related events and officially writing for and serving as Eickholt Gallery’s Creative Director. His duties included writing press releases for art openings, articles about the gallery in art/business magazines and co-writing the gallery’s manifesto with Reto Bruseghini, all the while promoting the name of the gallery.

Michael Ricardo, a New York artist had previously met with Gaynor Sweeney and in doing so conferred on the subject of an artistic link between New York and Liverpool, where she was based. This was the origin of Transvoyeur. During a conference call at the gallery Kofi spoke to Gaynor for the first time. Their conversation was rather frank unlike the philosophical and scientific dimensions it developed into months later.

Plans were underway for the Liverpool Biennial. In preparing for it, Kofi and Gaynor dialogued on a variety of topics including hybridism, lineage and gender politics. Each morning when Kofi arrived at the gallery, he made a long distance call on the office phone to Gaynor. It began a dialogue between the two which has existed since.

The plans for the Eickholt Gallery artists to participate in the Liverpool Biennial fell through. Most of the work coordinated on both sides as in Gaynor and her team in Liverpool and Lisa Eickholt, Michael Ricardo and Kofi Forson at the Eickholt Gallery were left unrecognized.

All the while Kofi kept a dialogue with Gaynor Sweeney. It reached broader proportions when Kofi did a painting of Gaynor and proceeded to interact with Liverpool artists like George Lund and Tony Knox. Soon thereafter Kofi and Gaynor had their first collaboration called Enlightenment: Cushion Belles based on a poem written by Kofi. It was developed into a digital film and has been the base of Gaynor Sweeney’s performance and intervention of this subject.

Years passed and Kofi and Gaynor built a friendship on email exchanges, failed attempts at other collaborations, telephone calls from New York to Liverpool and the glorifying of this exchange between these two artists as they were endeared and recognized separate from where they practiced their art.

Another attempt was made at the establishing of the New York version of Transvoyeur. Michael Ricardo put together a collection of New York artists. They met officially at a lounge to discuss the matter at hand. Much as this was a wrong choice for a meeting place, not much was accomplished. Such was the tone that followed which led to an unofficial resignation from Kofi and his position at the Eickholt Gallery and Transvoyeur.

The biennial that year was dominated by rejections, deceit, disloyalty and mishandling of the entire project which was indeed a fiasco, not helping the cause of Gaynor Sweeney, who had put much of her time as humanly possible and then some to be denied the chance at encouraging and promoting the very title Liverpool was to receive as cultural center.

Since then Kofi has had a one-man show, Femmes du Futur in collaboration with Gaynor Sweeney and Jo Derbyshire, a Liverpool artist. Much of the previous summer was spent organizing the project Gender, Space, Art and Architecture; a program curated by Gaynor Sweeney, featuring Kofi Fosu and Daiva Gauryte. It received its premier in New York, sponsored by Judith Escalona and Media Noche.

What transcended the relationship between Kofi Fosu Forson and Gaynor Evelyn Sweeney was the innate ability to transfer science and philosophy into a common and human understanding of conversing along with the written word.

Kofi and Gaynor have collaborated on several philosophical projects bordering gender and sexual politics and variations of science and semiotics. What the Transvoyeur website fails to do is capture the human spirit that these two exceptional human beings exemplify. The worrisome direction and misdirection that they have expressed towards each other would only be best chronicled in an authorized biography.

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