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"Currents 99: Issac Julien"
2006-12-15 until 2007-03-11
Saint Louis Art Museum
St. Louis, MO, USA

˜The Saint Louis Art Museum announces the December 15 opening of "Currents 99: Issac Julien". In this exhibition, his first solo show in St. Louis, Isaac Julien (British, born 1960) will create a new installation of photographs from a larger project entitled "True North", which reconsiders the genre of the sublime in depictions of polar expeditions through the lenses of mythology and fiction. The project was inspired in part by the story of Matthew Henson, an African-American who accompanied the white U.S. explorer Robert E. Peary on several expeditions, including one on which they were believed to have discovered the North Pole.

"True North" has been shown as three-screen, two-screen, and single-screen projections (each shot in 16-mm film transferred to DVD with an accompanying soundtrack), as well as a series of one-meter square color photographs, some conceived as single images and others presented as diptychs or triptychs. These images feature a small, recurring cast of characters in a wintry landscape and suggest a narrative in which meaning shifts with each new iteration and context.

Julien is interested in representation, aesthetics and politics in film and photography. His work has long been celebrated in Europe for its theoretical sophistication, lush sensuality, intelligence, wit and emotional complexity.

Julien lives and works in London. He earned a B.A. in Fine Art Film at Central St. Martin's School of Art in London, and completed graduate studies at Les Entrepreneurs de L'Audiovisuel Européen (EAVE) in Brussels. His extensive list of solo exhibitions includes projects at the following museums: MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; The Laboratory of Art and Ideas, Denver; The Studio Museum, Harlem; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Montreal.

The Museum's Currents series features the works of contemporary artists. Curated by Robin Clark, associate curator of contemporary art, "Currents 99: Isaac Julien" will be on view in Gallery 335 through March 11, 2007.

The public is invited to preview the exhibition with Clark following a discussion of his work and a screening of the film "True North" December 14 at 7 p.m. in the Auditorium. Julien will discuss his work with Clark during a second exhibition lecture and film screening February 15 at 7 p.m. in the Auditorium.

The Saint Louis Art Museum is one of the nation's leading comprehensive art museums with collections that include works of art of exceptional quality from virtually every culture and time period. Areas of notable depth include Oceanic art, pre-Columbian art, ancient Chinese bronzes and European and American art of the late 19th and 20th centuries, with particular strengths in 20th-century German art. The Museum offers a full range of exhibitions and educational programming generated independently and in collaboration with local, national, and international partners.

Isaac Julien,
photographs from True North Series, 2004;
digital prints on Epson Premium Photo Glossy;
each 44 7/8 x 44 7/8 inches;
Courtesy of Victoria Miro Gallery, London, and Metro
Pictures Gallery, New York. Copyright the artist

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