MAK Center, Los Angeles

Schindler House | 835 North Kings Road, West Hollywood
CA 90069-5409 Los Angeles

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artists & participants

press release

Marking the first solo exhibition of British artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien in Los Angeles, True North debuts Julien’s new corpus of photographs featuring lush detailed formal stills from his film shoot in Iceland this year. A lone figure cloaked in dark wool and fur navigates this sublime white landscape. The ice is transparent – the scenery is blue. The irreconcilable site of ice and ocean is hyper-realized through Julien’s lens. Through his signature high formalism and uncanny framing, Julien transforms this found environment into a field of fantasy.

The True North project reanimates heroic polar explorations through the lens of mythology and fiction, rooted in a distinctly imperialist history, evoking ethnographic precursors such as “Nanook of the North.” Working through the legacies and problematics of the documentary tradition, Julien negotiates the romanticism and alleged realism within the documentary lexicon, as it speaks to the construction of identity in the visual field. In keeping with his larger practice, the True North project continues Julien’s poetic and political explorations of space and subjectivity, of historical memory and contemporary experience.


Isaac Julien "True North"
Kurator: Lauri Firstenberg
Schindler House