Stockholm: From Ice caps to Arid Land

Posted on May 31, 2006


true-north.jpgby schlockholm – the stockholm blog 

Stockholm gallery Brändström & Stene are showing two audiovisual installations by the celebrated British artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien (b.1960) this summer: Fantôme Afrique (triple screen) and True North (double screen).

The installation explores the impact of location – both cultural and physical – through –adopts suitably donnish tone – a juxtaposition of opposing global regions. Yes, it might sound a tad pretentious but the man’s a scholar and an artist so we’ll forgive him.

True North, was shot amidst the landscapes of Iceland and Northern Sweden, and is centred around the expedition and writings of Matthew Henson – a key member of Robert E. Peary’s 1909 Arctic expedition. Henson was arguably the first person to reach the North Pole. Oh, yes, he was also black.

In an intriguing move actor Vanessa Myrie (Baltimore, Fantôme Afrique) is re-cast as Henson in Julien’s version of the expedition.

Fantôme Afrique mixes cinematic and architectural references through the imagery of urban Ouagadougou, the centre for cinema in Africa, and the arid spaces of rural Burkina Faso. It’s also punctuated by archival footage from early colonial expeditions and landmark moments in African history. Choreographer and dancer Stephen Galloway (Ballet Frankfurt) and Vanessa Myrie “figure as trickster/phantom and witness in this carefully composed meditation on the denationalized, deterritorialized spaces born of the encounters between local and global cultures, where the ghosts of history linger amid the realities of the day” [Brändström &; Stene]

"Expeditions: Fantôme Afrique & True North will be showing at Galleri Brändström & Stene until July 07, 2006.