Paradise Omeros

20 January - 17 February at Galerie Ron Mandos
Isaac Julien

Galerie Ron Mandos is proud to present the video installation Paradise Omeros by Isaac Julien (1960, UK). Paradise Omeros delves into the fantasies and feelings of "Creoleness" - the mixed language, the hybrid mental states and the territorial transpositions that arise when one lives in multiple cultures. Using the recurrent imagery of the sea, the film sweeps the viewer into a poetic meditation on the ebb and flow of self and stranger, love and hate, war and peace, xenophobe and xenophile. 

Set in London in the 1960s and on the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia today, it is loosely based on some of Saint Lucian author Derek Walcott's extended epic poem from Omeros (which took its own title from epic poet Homer's name in ancient Greek). The Nobel prize winning poet Derek Walcott and the musician and composer Paul Gladstone Reid collaborated with Julien on the text and the score for the film.

The social, political, and emotional terrain of postcolonial identity is explored through a richly imagined, elliptical narrative that steps outside the bounds of linear time to link two island cultures: 1960's England and contemporary Saint Lucia.

The video's protagonist, Achille, appears in both locations, first working as a waiter at a brilliantly colorful tropical resort and later wandering through bleak and gray London housing projects. Dreamlike scenes of the ocean and a lively party in an immigrant's apartment speak to the beauty of his world; vignettes of a burning cabin and domestic brutality also imply that violence and anxiety lie just beneath the surface. Achille becomes a symbol of the Caribbean diaspora.

Isaac Julien, CBE is a Turner prize nominated artist and filmmaker. Julien has pioneered a form of multi-screen installations, some of which were featured in the 56th Biennale di Venezia (2015). He has exhibited his work in museums and institutions across the world including Museum of Modern Art, New York (2013-2014), Foundation Louis Vuitton in Paris (2016). In 2015, Julien had a retrospective entitled ''RIOT'' at the De Pont Museum (Tilburg, the Netherlands). His work was featured in the group show ''The 1980s'' at the Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven, the Netherlands). In 2016, he showed at El Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo in Mexico City. Julien's work is also on view at the Centre Pompidou, Paris. He has shown during 2015 La Biennale di Venezia, Art Basel, Art Basel Miami Beach. After teaching at Harvard University (1998-2002), Julien was Professor of Media Art at the Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung in Karlsruhe (2009-2015) and Chair of Global Art at University of Arts London (2014-2016).

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