Stones Against Diamonds draws inspiration from a letter written by Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi and was shot in Iceland's remote ice caves.
The artwork examines themes within Bo Bardi's letter, where she praises the beauty of semi-precious gems over preferred precious stones, such as diamonds. Shooting in remote Vatnajökull region in South East Iceland Austurland, and using the breath-taking scenery of glistening ice caves as a set for the film, Julien portrays some of the most beautiful objects as the least precious in a conventional sense.
The shoot took place over five days with the crew enduring sub-zero temperatures deep in the heart of spectacular glacial caves, formed in ice over thousands of years and accessible for only a few days a year due to the harsh climate.
Signature elements of Bo Bardi’s work have been incorporated into Julien’s work, including a staircase, meticulously built by hand in the ice cave during the production of the film. In a move providing technical challenges for the fifty-strong crew, a larger version of the staircase was recreated during post-production before being merged, using CGI, replicating Bo Bardi’s famed spiral staircase.
Continuing the parallels, Julien incorporates Bo Bardi’s signature easels in his film, made of glass and concrete, two elements present in the majority of her work. The way in which Julien’s film and photographs will be installed in the Matarazzo Hotel continues this representation, as the artist will show film and photography positioned to draw direct comparison with Bo Bardi’s work.
The Stones Against Diamonds series consists of single, five and ten-screen film installations, Duratrans mounted photographs and lightboxes.