Isaac Julien (born 1960 in London, UK; lives and works in London, UK).

10 portrait screens with HD playback; 58 minutes, 28 seconds.

“During the Venice Art Biennale 2015, British artist Isaac Julien collaborates with Rolls-Royce Motor Cars to preview a film installation entitled Stones Against Diamonds, filmed deep within the remote glacial caves in the wilderness southwest of Iceland. Julien and a crew of almost 50 people gained rare access to the precious ice grottos in study and documentation of the semi-precious stones that inhabit them.

“The film revolves around a passage from a letter written by Italian-born Brazilian architect and designer, Lina Bo Bardi, whose preference of semi-precious stones over gemstones is cataloged in her book of writings, bearing the same name as the installation title. Julien portrays some of the most beautiful objects as the least precious in a conventional sense, in turn, investigating the role of the subconscious throughout creative production. Actress Vanessa Myrie, a frequent performer in Julien’s work, takes the viewer on a journey through a glistening landscape of glaciers, rocks, and black volcanic sands.”
—”Isaac Julien Films Stones Against Diamonds Within Iceland’s Glacial Caves,” Designboom, May 16, 2015.

Stones Against Diamonds has the actress, performer and Julien’s muse Vanessa Myrie, wandering the frozen landscape in which, in a mixture of CGI and actual carpentry, Julian has placed a version of Bo Bardi’s spiral staircase at Solar do Unhão in Bahia, Brazil. A tangential leap but it works wonderfully. Julien says he sees the ice caves as natural versions of Bo Bardi’s own organic architecture. He also uses the glass and concrete easels Bo Bardi developed for the Museu de Arte de São Paulo, creating panels of glacial landscape and echoing the multi-screen installation itself.

“Julien has a continuing fascination with Bo Bardi and his currently plotting his next piece, Seven Faces of Lina Bo Bardi. He has spent three years researching Bo Bardi, interviewing artists and architects, including those who knew and worked with her.”
—Nick Compton, “Ice or Diamonds? Isaac Julien Presents His Glacial Film in Miami,” Wallpaper*, December 8, 2015.

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