Isaac Julien

Isaac Julien

Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil

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

August 21, 2012

Isaac Julien

September 4–December 16, 2012

Public talk by the artist: September 2, 5pm

SESC Pompeia
Rua Clélia 93 São Paulo, Brazil

To mark the opening of the show Isaac Julien: Geopoetics, the featured artist will give a talk on September 2 in São Paulo, Brazil. The event will raise awareness of his production, which the show’s curator Solange Farkas believes is in line with the artist’s long-standing research to establish a dialogue between social and artistic issues.

She explains, “On the one hand, [Isaac Julien’s oeuvre’s] poetic-political approach refers to the legacy that necessarily emerges in the artistic production of the regions in the world’s geopolitical South, the main scope of our research. On the other, its exploration of the possibilities for a cinema that expands from the screen into the environment, spreading narrative splinters that are only composed in the experience of each viewer, reminds us of the path of the video itself in the context of contemporary art.”

This fragmentation of cinematic linearity is accompanied by a concern with creating new possibilities in artistic experience—an aspect made clear in the way his visual experimentations have gradually subverted the pattern of creation and fruition in cinema. “The central question for me was what would be the difference for the aesthetic and sensory aspects between the experience of watching films in the museum or gallery context rather than in the cinema. I was interested in exploring this new and novel approach,” says Julien of his transition from the dark room to the white cube.

The show’s title reveals another recurring aspect of the artist’s work: the prominence of landscape, of the geographical status of individuals and events. Julien remarks that “in a sense, my artistic formation is probably closer to some of the artists working in ethnographic surrealism, like André Gide and Michel Leiris. They were interested in a certain poetics of the political, and I think that’s something that’s got lost in recent times. So I am really interested in trying to reclaim that in my work, but at the same time reworking it from a different subjective position.”

On the other hand, Julien’s work bears strong ties with written poetry—an expression the artist resorts to in order to inspire, enlighten, or expand the meanings of certain pieces. “Poetry mirrors some visual concerns, in terms of how I want to make images. For me, the relationship to poetry is a way of trying to have a more lyrical approach to making images. This literary approach works rather well in terms of making films that are more imagistic in nature, and pose questions that are not as didactic as they would be in a political register. I think it’s really connected to these concerns of how one marries the poetic to the political, and vice versa.”

These and other aspects of Isaac Julien’s work will be discussed at the public meeting he will attend on September 2.

Learn more about the show.

Accomplishment: Associação Cultural Videobrasil and SESC. Cultural support: British Council.

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



Isaac Julien presented by Videobrasil
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Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil
August 21, 2012

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