Isaac Julien: True North & Fantome Afrique
This October, Victoria Miro Gallery will present the UK premiere of True North and Fantôme Afrique, two audiovisual installations by celebrated artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien, alongside associated photographic series. Developing Julien's preoccupation with notions and expressions of diaspora, the creolising of space and crossings, the works explore the impact of location - both cultural and physical - to resounding effect through a juxtaposition of opposing global regions. True North, shot in the spectacular landscapes of Iceland and Northern Sweden, is conceived around the expedition and writings of Matthew Henson. One of the key members of Robert E. Peary's 1909 Arctic expedition, Henson was controversially and arguably the first person to reach the North Pole, who was also African-American. True North's counterpart, Fantôme Afrique, weaves cinematic and architectural references through the rich imagery of urban Ouagadougou, the centre for cinema in Africa, and the arid spaces of rural Burkina Faso, and is punctuated by archival footage from early colonial expeditions and landmark moments in African history. Renowned choreographer and dancer Stephen Galloway (Ballet Frankfurt) and actor Vanessa Myrie (Baltimore) figure as 'trickster/phantom' and 'witness' in this carefully composed meditation on the denationalised, de-territorialised spaces born of the encounters between local and global cultures, where the ghosts of history linger amid the realities of the day.