Isaac Julien

Jan 29, 2014


Victoria Miro currently presents Isaac Julien’s PLAYTIME, an ambitious new body of work exploring the dramatic and nuanced subject of capital.

The exhibition coincides with the UK release by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, of RIOT, the first publication to span the artist’s trail-blazing career over the past three decades.

PLAYTIME is presented across Victoria Miro’s Mayfair and Wharf Road galleries and comprises the world premiere of the eponymous seven-screen installation featuring an international roster of actors: Maggie Cheung, Mercedes Cabral, James Franco, Colin Salmon and Ingvar Eggert Sigurğsson with Simon de Pury, playing himself. Also on view is KAPITAL: a two-screen documentary, which includes the artist in conversation with leading academics such as David Harvey and Stuart Hall. Victoria Miro Mayfair will present a suite of accompanying photographic works.

What drives people to cross continents in search of a “better life” is a question that has underpinned much of Julien’s work over the past decade and in responding to the question he repeatedly returns to the same answer: capital. PLAYTIME thus follows on from Julien’s acclaimed nine screen installation Ten Thousand Waves (2010) – currently on show at MoMA, New York – which offers a response to the Morecambe Bay tragedy of 2004, where twenty-three Chinese cockle pickers were lost at sea, and Western Union: small boats (2007), which explores the perilous voyages of those attempting to cross the Mediterranean from Africa to gain entry into “fortress Europe” a story that has tragically dominated the news headlines once again in recent months.

PLAYTIME is set across three cities defined by their role in relation to capital: London, a city transformed by the deregulation of the banks; Reykjavik, where the 2008 global financial crisis began; and Dubai, one of the Middle East’s burgeoning financial markets. Part documentary and part fiction, the work follows six main protagonists – the Artist, the Hedge Fund Manager, the Auctioneer, the House Worker, the Art Dealer, and the Reporter – interconnecting figures in the world of art and finance with the real stories of individuals deeply affected by the crisis and the global flow of capital.

HORIZON / ELSEWHERE (Playtime), 2013, Endura Ultra photograph, 160 x 240 cm, 63 x 95 in

EMERALD CITY / CAPITAL (Playtime), 2013, Endura Ultra photograph, 160 x 240 cm, 63 x 95 in

Isaac Julien

Victoria Miro

January 24 – March 1, 2014

16 Wharf Road
London N1 7RW

14 St George Street
London W1S 1FE