'Isaac Julien: To the End of the Earth' at Galerie Forsblom, Stockholm
Isaac Julien Studio is pleased to announce the opening of the exhibition To the end of the Earth at Galerie Forsblom this winter.
Exploreing themes of voyage across continents from Italy, to China, to Iceland, the artworks presented meditate on journeys, loss, separation, contemporary experiences of desire, and relationships between subjectiveness and the geopoetical in our global era. Displaying selected moving image and photographic works mounted into lighboxtes created between 2007 to 2015, the focus of the exhibition is the five-screen installation of Julien's highly acclaimed Western Union: small boats (2007).
Western Union: small boats (2007) is a work where individual voyages and movement of people are explored locally, while also alluding to the global scenario. Julien traces the effects of trauma, not just on people but also on architecture, monuments, and daily life, by relocating these trajectories in a poetic manner. Shot in 2007 in the islands of Sicily and Lampedusa, Italy, Julien's film installation depicts the picturesque fishermen village of Agrigento where thousands of refugees arrive each year to seek asylum. These images are counterposed with the grandeur of Palazzo Gangi, the afamed location from Italian filmmaker Luchino Visconti's Il Gattopardo (The Leopard). In a poignant juxtaposition to the deadly voyage, performance sequences have been choreographed by Russell Maliphant, while echoing and rearticulating these dramatic voyages. Through the use of multiple screens and the interweaving of images, Western Union: small boats (2007) subverts strict narrative, creating a collage of sound and image, which blurs the boundaries of documentary and fiction.
A selection of two photographic works from Ten Thousand Waves (2010) series are also presented, illustrating Julien's continuous interest and artistic engagement with the themes of human aspiration for a better life, movement of people across continents and globalisation. Ten Thousand Waves seeks to reflect on the story of Chinese cockleshell pickers who drowned in England's coast through the perspective of Mazu, the goddess of the sea and the fishermen.
Stones Against Diamonds (2015) is the final body of work presented in the exhibition. The work draws inspiration from a letter written by Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi where she praises the beauty of semi-precious gems over precious stones, such as diamonds. The actor Vanessa Myrie, reappears, walking through the sublime scenery of an ice cave in the remote Vatnajökull region on Iceland. In this this new landscape, Julien reflects on how some of the most beautiful objects as the least precious in a conventional sense, especially depicted by the frailness of the ice that melts, representing climate change. Stones Against Diamonds brings back the themes of journey, the natural landscape and the exploration of the unknown, also seen in the previous works.
For further information on the exhibition please visit Galerie Forsblom