Linear time is a western invention; time is not linear, it is a marvellous entanglement where, at any moment, points can be chosen and solutions invented, without beginning or end.
—Lina Bo Bardi
The visual poetics of Isaac Julien's body of work Lina Bo Bardi – A Marvellous Entanglement, spectacularly entangles multiple cultures and time zones through choreographed performances which are powered by architectural structures. The multiple screen installation and photographic series A Marvellous Entanglement (2019) traverses a collection of Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi’s most iconic buildings, offering a meditation on the work and legacy of the visionary modernist architect and designer (1914–1992).
Within a web-like construction of time and history, a visual poem unfurls across three geographic locations: São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP), Sesc Pompeia and in the Teatro Oficina, widely regarded as landmarks of Brazilian modernism. The work traverses north, also encountering Bo Bardi’s buildings in Salvador: the Museum of Modern Art; the Coaty Restaurant and the Gregório de Mattos theatre. Starring Academy Award-nominee Fernanda Montenegro and her daughter, Cannes-laureate actor Fernanda Torres, A Marvellous Entanglement portrays Bo Bardi at different stages of her life, as the actresses interpret excerpts from the architect’s writings.
Following the conceptual thread which Julien established in his earlier artistic investigations around portrait-making such as Ten Thousand Waves (2010), or the more recent Lessons of the Hour: Frederick Douglass (2019), Lina Bo Bardi – A Marvellous Entanglement looks at historical reparation through visual poetry, moved by the breadth and power of Bo Bardi’s work, and a profound belief that her legacy has yet to be fully acknowledged.
Isaac Julien CBE RA was born in London in 1960. Julien is one of Britain’s most influential, and critically acclaimed artists working today, who pioneered multi-screen installations. His cinematic and photographic works combine a theoretical sophistication with visual luxury and sensuality. This seminal installation artist and filmmaker has won many awards for his work, recently he received the Charles Wollaston Award (2017) for the most distinguished work at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and in 2018 was made a Royal Academician. Julien was awarded the title Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s birthday honours, 2017. Julien was the recipient of the James Robert Brudner ‘83 Memorial Prize and Lecture at Yale University (2016).
Isaac Julien’s solo exhibitions and presentations include: Lessons of the Hour, National Galleries Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland (2021); Lina Bo Bardi – A Marvellous Entanglement, MAXXI - Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Rome, Italy (2020);Western Union: Small Boats, Neuberger Museum, Purchase, New York, USA (2020); Isaac Julien: A Marvelous Entanglement, Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain (2019); Baltimore, Baltimore Museum of Art, USA (2019); Isaac Julien: PLAYTIME, Los Angeles County Museum of Ar, Los Angeles, USA (2019); Lessons of the Hour—Frederick Douglass, Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, New York, USA (2019); Isaac Julien: The Leopard (Western Union: Small Boats), The Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, IL, USA (2019); Isaac Julien: Looking for Langston, Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio, USA (2018); Intermezzo: Isaac Julien, ARoS Kunstmuseum, Aarhus, Denmark (2018); Western Union: Small Boats, ARos Kunstmuseum, Aarhus, Denmark (2018); Isaac Julien: Ten Thousand Waves, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, England; Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture, San Francisco (2017); Platform-L Contemporary Art Centre, Seoul (2017); The Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (2017); Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris (2016); MAC Niterói, Rio de Janeiro (2016); Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC), Mexico City (2016); De Pont Museum, Netherlands (2015); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2013); Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago (2013); The Bass Museum, Miami (2010); Museum Brandhorst, Munich (2009); Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2005); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2005) and Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2005).
Julien participated in the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017, at the inaugural Diaspora Pavilion with Western Union: Small Boats. Previously, he presented Das Kapital Oratorio in the 56th edition of the Venice Biennale, curated by Okwui Enwezor, in 2015. His latest work, Stones Against Diamonds, was also shown that year as part of the Rolls-Royce Art Programme as well as at Art Basel and Art Basel Miami Beach. Julien has exhibited work at biennials including the 7th Gwangju Biennial, South Korea (2008); Prospect 1, New Orleans (2008); Performa 07, New York (2007) and in documenta 11, Kassel (2002).
Julien’s work is held in collections that include: Tate, London; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC; the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris; the LUMA Foundation, Arles; the Kramlich Collection; the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art (Zeitz MOCAA), Cape Town. In 2016 the Towner Art Gallery Collection (Eastbourne, UK) acquired Ten Thousand Waves (2010) as part of a Moving Image Fund program. Ten Thousand Waves, a globally acclaimed multiple screen installation work, premiered at the 2010 Sydney Biennale and has gone on to be exhibited extensively - recently at Platform-L in Seoul (2017) and Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris (2016) as well as the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 2013, with whom he also published a comprehensive monographic survey of his life and work, titled ‘Riot’.
Isaac Julien has been represented by Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery since 2007. Isaac Julien: Lina Bo Bardi – A Marvellous Entanglement will be Julien's seventh solo exhibition at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney.