Isaac Julien

Isaac Julien

Associação Cultural Videobrasil, SESC Pompeia

Isaac Julien, Blue Goddess (Ten Thousand Waves), 2010.*

September 3, 2012

Isaac Julien

September 4–December 16, 2012

SESC Pompeia
Rua Clélia, 93
São Paulo Brazil
Hours: Tue–Sat, 9:30–9pm
Sun & holidays, 9:30–8pm
Free entry

T +55 11 3871 7700
email [​at​]

A few words by the curator
The particularities of Isaac Julien’s complex oeuvre share much in common with the work Associação Cultural Videobrasil has been doing for almost thirty years now. On the one hand, its poetic-political approach, marked by postcolonial thought, by sensitivity to the implications of multiculturalism, and by gender issues, refers to the legacy that necessarily emerges in the artistic production of the world’s geopolitical South, our main scope of research.

On the other, by exploring the possibilities of a cinema that expands from the screen onto the environment, spreading narrative splinters that are only composed in the fruition of each viewer, Julien reminds us of the path of video itself within the realm of contemporary art—a movement which our festivals and exhibitions have been following and shedding light on, in different ways.

Representative of the work Julien has produced over the last thirty years, Geopoetics features four multiscreen installations. A program of films covering great part of Julien’s works from the ’80s to 2008 will be shown on SESCTV as a complement to the show.

The recurrence of the landscape as a protagonist in the narratives—and the deep implications of the way in which the artist has his images moving through the world—justifies the choice of the show’s title. The educational project for Geopoetics is based around the reverberations of Julien’s work, including an international seminar and a host of mediation and training-oriented actions targeting different audiences.

–Solange Farkas


Ten Thousand Waves, 2010
In 2004, twenty-three Chinese cockle shell pickers drowned in an unexpected rising tide in Morecambe Bay, England. The tragedy inspires Ten Thousand Waves, that poetically interweaves stories which connect the present and the country’s ancient past.

Fantôme Créole, 2005
Arctic and African juxtaposed landscapes, the lack of dialogue, characters with implied interiority, and narrative connection all hint at the piece’s intellectual orientation as it focuses on the issues which connect the two regions and on the promotion of a “creolised” vision.

Paradise Omeros, 2002
Paradise Omeros delves into the fantasies and feelings of what Julien calls “creoleness”: the mixed language, the hybrid mental states, and territorial transpositions. Set in the 1960s London and on the present Caribbean island of Santa Lucia, it is loosely based on poems by the Caribbean Nobel Prize–winning Derek Walcott.

The Leopard, 2007
A single-channel version of the installation Western Union: small boats, the film takes its visual cue from Luchino Visconti’s Il Gattopardo (1963). The abandoned interiors of Palazzo Gangi, opulent and luxurious in the past, contain the echo of ghosts of decadence and grandeur, and resonating stories of immigration.


Who Killed Colin Roach?, 1983
In 1983, young black Colin Roach was shot to death at the entrance to a police station in London. Suspicions of a police cover-up for murder turned the incident into a cause for civil rights militants and black community groups.

Territories, 1984
An experimental documentary on the Notting Hill Carnival, an annual street fest created by London’s black and Caribbean communities.

Looking for Langston, 1989
Langston Hughes was a revered poet of the Harlem Renaissance, a period in the early 20th century when black literature flourished. In a lyrical and poetical way, Julien invokes Hughes as a gay and black cultural icon.

The Darker Side of Black, 1994
With their violent, nihilistic gangsta chic appeal, the more radical subgenres of rap and reggae dominate the imagery of black popular culture. The film is a provocative take on issues of misogyny, homophobia, and glorification of guns.

The Attendant, 1993
The film is set in Wilberforce House, a British museum dedicated to the history of slavery. The plot revolves around the sexual fantasies that a young white visitor arouses in a black middle-aged museum attendant.

Frantz Fanon, Black Skin White Mask, 1996
Frantz Fanon (1925–1961) was an influential anticolonialist writer from Martinique. The documentary aims to reestablish the academic and artistic acknowledgement of the originality of Fanon’s as a thinker.

Derek, 2008
Derek Jarman (1942–1994) was one of Britain’s most original artists ever. A 1991 interview shot as Jarman faced imminent death is the core of this documentary-tribute.

*Image above:
Isaac Julien, Blue Goddess (Ten Thousand Waves), 2010. Courtesy of the artist and Victoria Miro Gallery, London.



Videobrasil and SESC present Isaac Julien
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Associação Cultural Videobrasil, SESC Pompeia
September 3, 2012

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