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Isaac Julien - Victoria Miro Gallery

Paradise Omeros . Baltimore
9 September - 11 October 2003

Victoria Miro Gallery

Isaac Julien is a master of juxtaposing screens and playing with film technology to produce enticing scenario and narrative. Alternating between "the specific and the elliptical, the documentary and disorientating" he is able to explores social issues within the context of space and aesthetic to create a complex social commentary, which weaves in and out of our consciousness to produce sometimes alarming affects, which jump at us when we least expect it. For this show, Julien is showing two films, Paradise Omeros, the much celebrated film at last years Documenta 11 in Kassel, Germany and Baltimore along with photographs taken during the filming of both. With the recurring imagery of the sea and the constant switching between St Lucia in the Caribbean to 60s London and beyond, Paradise Omeros deals with hybridity and multi culturalism creating a film, which grabs the viewer, often leading us away from the narrator. There is always a slightly auto-biographical element in his work; however Baltimore does this in a less obvious way. Creating an unsettling commentary, Julien uses, as in previous works, Vagabondia (2000) and Three (1996-99), museums as key locations. Inspired by blaixploitation films, he appropriates the styles and language to create something which defies classification. The work is displayed on three screens creating an almost Matrix affect as it sweeps our vision from image to image , while photographs from both films entice us into the world of the characters. While looking towards history and the personal stories of people today he creates a complex narrative with visually rich scenarios, almost giving us too much as he challenges barriers within cultures and creative genres, but ultimately, through art and new media, we and the artist are able to find a common ground.

Review By Rebecca Harris


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