An engrossing paperback book about one of the most important and pioneering contemporary artists and filmmakers working today. Featuring strikingly beautiful reproductions of these extraordinarily powerful works, the exhibition catalogue enriches our understanding and appreciation of a remarkable artist.
‘Dance, theatre, music, sculpture, painting, all of these different modes of art-making are encapsulated into my practice, which is why I chose film as a medium for making my work.’ - Isaac Julien
This landmark book reveals the scope of Julien’s pioneering practice of over forty years. From the early 1980s to the present day, it showcases works from early films to large-scale, multi-screen installations which investigate the movement of peoples across different continents, times and spaces. It includes some of his early projects as part of Sankofa Film and Video Collective (1983–92); his critically acclaimed ten-screen film installation Lessons of the Hour 2019, a portrait of the life and times of Frederick Douglass, the visionary African American orator, philosopher and self-liberated freedom-fighter; and Once Again … (Statues Never Die) 2022.
A selection of video stills have been brought to life by a bespoke augmented reality app, allowing readers to immerse themselves in Julien’s films and installations. Search for Isaac Julien App in the App Store or Play Store and install the app on your smartphone or tablet. Open the app and hold your device over the images on pages where the symbol appears to experience this exciting extra dimension to the book.
The wide range of writers and collaborators who have contributed to this book highlight Julien's critical thinking and the way his work breaks down barriers between different artistic disciplines, drawing from film, dance, photography, music, theatre, painting and sculpture by using the themes of desire, history and culture.
Edited by Isabella Maidment, Curator, Contemporary British Art, at Tate Britain. Contributors include:
Caleb Azumah Nelson, a British-Ghanaian writer and photographer. His debut novel, Open Water, won the Costa Book Award for First Novel in 2021.
Maria Balshaw, Director of Tate.
Celeste-Marie Bernier, Professor of United States and Atlantic Studies at the University of Edinburgh.
Adam Finch, Film editor.
Professor Jack Halberstam, Professor of Gender Studies and English at Columbia University, National of United States.
Nina Kellgren, BSC, a BAFTA-winning cinematographer based in London.
Professor Jack Halberstam, Professor of Gender Studies and English at Columbia University; National of United States.
Mark Nash, an independent curator, film historian and filmmaker with a specialisation in contemporary fine art moving image practices, avant-garde and world cinema. He is currently a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Nathan Ladd, Assistant Curator, Contemporary Art, Tate Britain.
Wole Soyinka, a Nigerian playwright, novelist, poet and essayist. He was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize for literature.
Bradford Young, ASC, an American cinematographer. His best-known films include Selma, When They See Us, A Most Violent Year, Solo: A Star Wars Story, and Arrival, which earned him a nomination for an Academy Award.
Vladimir Seput, a curator and researcher based in London.
Isaac Julien: What Freedom is to Me
27.5 x 23 cm
FSC certified paper and card
Number of illustrations
No of pages
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