Isaac Julien: What Freedom Is To Me

Now on view at ⁠K21 in Düsseldorf, Isaac Julien: What Freedom Is To Me.

The first survey exhibition in Germany dedicated to the work of the British artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien, reveals the breadth of a groundbreaking oeuvre from its emergence in the 1980s to the present. Julien’s critical thinking, aimed above all at an intense engagement with the culture and history of colonialism, is expressed in his early films, as well as in the highly aesthetic film images of the major, internationally acclaimed video installations of the last twenty years. Originally showcased at Tate Britain, it travels next to Bonnefantenmuseum in 2024.⁠

Isaac Julien’s installation Lessons of the Hour (Who Killed Colin Roach?), is on loan from the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.

Practical information:⁠
Isaac Julien: What Freedom Is To Me⁠
23 September, 2023 – 14 January, 2024⁠
Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, K21, Düsseldorf⁠

ABOUT Isaac Julien

Sir Isaac Julien KBE RA (GB, 1960), a London-born filmmaker and installation artist, is celebrated for his groundbreaking approach to art, seamlessly merging film, dance, photography, music, theater, painting, and sculpture to craft compelling visual narratives through multi-screen film installations. Notably, his 1989 documentary-drama “Looking for Langston” and the Cannes Film Festival Semaine de la Critique prize-winning debut feature, “Young Soul Rebels” (1991), garnered critical acclaim on a global scale.

Julien’s international acclaim extends to prestigious solo exhibitions at prominent venues, including the Barnes Foundation, Smith College Museum of Art, and Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. His works have graced the walls of renowned institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Art Institute of Chicago.

In addition to his artistic pursuits, Julien has made significant contributions to academia, holding key positions at institutions like the University of Arts London and Staatliche Hoscschule fur Gestaltung, Karlsruhe. His educational efforts were further recognized when he was awarded the James Robert Brudner ’83 Memorial Prize and delivered lectures at Yale University in 2016.

Isaac Julien’s dedication to the arts has earned him distinguished accolades, including The Royal Academy of Arts Charles Wollaston Award in 2017 and a knighthood as part of Queen Elizabeth II’s Honours List in 2022. Furthermore, he was honored with the esteemed Kaiserring Goslar Award in 2022.

In April 2023, Tate Britain hosted a comprehensive survey show, presenting Isaac Julien’s illustrious career. This exhibition featured works spanning four decades, encompassing early films and expansive multi-screen installations that delve into the themes of global movement and history. It marked the first-ever presentation of Isaac Julien’s extensive body of work in the United Kingdom. Following its showcase at Tate Britain, the exhibition traveled to K21 in Düsseldorf, with its next destination set to be Bonnefanten in Maastricht, where it will be open for viewing from March 9 onwards.

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