Baptism - Gold (Radioactive Avatar #9), 2018
This work stems from Isaac Julien’s 2004 installation Encore II (Radioactive) which is a short film study inspired by a character from the writings of Octavia Butler, an African American Science Fiction writer, best known for her recurring exploration of genetic manipulation, contamination and hybridity and David Bowie’s Starman.
The film re-digitises footage shot in Iceland and northern Sweden from Julien’s film True North (2004), a work based on the story of African-American explorer Matthew Henson, one of the key members of Robert E. Peary's 1909 Arctic expedition, and arguably the first individual to reach the North Pole. In Encore II: (Radioactive), the protagonist is recast as a cyborg played by Vanessa Myrie. Using super-8 footage from Julien’s earlier video experiments which were shot in 1980, whilst he was studying at St. Martin’s School of Art, the film manipulates the Icelandic landscape and its surroundings, imbuing them with a visual and sonic electronic aura that dislocates the setting from a specific time and place.
born in 1960 in London, where he currently lives and works.
He has been making films and producing film installations for over twenty years, including Lina Bo Bardi - A Marvellous Entanglement (2019), Lessons of the Hour – Frederick Douglass (2019), Stones Against Diamonds (2015), PLAYTIME (2014), Ten Thousand Waves (2010), Western Union: Small Boats (2007), Fantôme Afrique (2005), True North (2004), Baltimore (2003), Paradise Omeros (2002), Vagabondia (2000), and Long Road to Mazatlan (1999).
The first European presentation of Lina Bo Bardi - A Marvellous Entanglement recently inaugurated at Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo (MAXXI) in Rome and is on view until January 17th, 2021.
Other recent international solo and group exhibitions include: Isaac Julien: Western Union: Small Boats, Neuberger Museum, New York (2020); Masculinities: Liberation through Photography, Barbican Art Gallery, London, travelling to Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, among others (2020); Baltimore, Baltimore Museum of Art (2019-2020); Isaac Julien: Frederick Douglass: Lessons of the Hour, SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah (2019); Looking for Langston, Tate Britain, London (2019); Playtime, LACMA, Los Angeles (2019); Black Refractions: Highlights from the Studio Museum in Harlem, Gibbes Museum, Charleston (2019). Julien further had solo exhibitions at venues including ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Denmark (2018); The Whitworth, Manchester (2018); The Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (2017); MAC Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2016), MUAC (Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo), Mexico City (2016); the De Pont Museum, Netherlands (2015); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2013), Art Institute of Chicago (2013), Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (2012), Nasjonalmuseet, Oslo (2012), Bass Museum, Miami, Florida, USA (2010), Museum Brandhorst, Munich (2009), Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea - Museu do Chiado, Lisbon, Portugal (2008), Kestnergesellschaft Hanover (2006), Pompidou Centre Paris (2005), and MoCA Miami (2005).