Isaac Julien

Artists in Residence: March 2008

The exhibition Te Tonga Tuturu/True South (Apparatus) (2009) by Isaac Julien follows research he undertook in Aotearoa New Zealand during his residency at Two Rooms Gallery, Auckland, in March 2008. During his residency Julien spent time exploring the remote Urewera ranges and the science fiction-like sands of Port Waikato.

His journey to Lake Waikaremoana began in Ruatoki where he learned more about the historical legacy of Te Urewera from Tuhoe. Revelations of the historical and more recent tensions with the New Zealand government resulted in a charged reading of this land. The landscape he therefore wishes to portray combines a pictorial, utopian romanticism with the haunting, coalescing of the different histories.

Isaac Julien’s work has encompassed major film and video projects, including his multi-screen work True North shown at the Auckland Triennale in 2007. This is the first time he has produced a purely photographic series without moving image. ‘I’m taking a very painterly approach with this project,’ he explains, ‘creating a palette of images incorporating the concept of mise en scene.’

Born in 1960, Julien lives and works in London. He has been making films and producing film installations for over twenty years, including Fantôme Afrique (2005), True North (2004), Baltimore (2003), Paradise Omeros (2002), Vagabondia (2000), and Long Road to Mazatlan(1999). Julien has had solo exhibitions at 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).