Rolls-Royce Motor Cars will present the first public showing of Isaac Julien’s new work Stones Against Diamonds during Art Basel in Basel, 2015. The work, commissioned as part of the Rolls Royce Art Programme, will be shown at the Kirche Elisabethen, Basel, from 16-17 June 2015. Following the preview during the Venice Biennale last month, the video installation film will be shown on a larger scale than previously seen, as a unique site specific installation filling the magnificent interior of the imposing church across ten screens. Isaac Julien’s film draws inspiration from a letter written by Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi.
Stones Against Diamonds examines themes within her letter, where she praises the beauty of natural elements over preferred precious stones. Filming the work in remote Vatnajökull region in South East Iceland Austurland,, using the breathtaking scenery of glistening ice caves as a set for the film, Julien portrays some of the most beautiful objects as the least precious in a conventional sense. The shoot took place over five days with the crew enduring sub-zero temperatures deep in the heart of spectacular glacial caves, formed in ice over thousands of years and accessible for only a few days a year due to the harsh climate. Signature elements of Bo Bardi’s work have been incorporated into Julien’s work, including a staircase, meticulously built by hand in the ice cave during the production of the film.
In a move providing technical challenges for the fifty-strong crew, a larger version of the staircase was recreated during post-production before being merged, using CGI, replicating Bo Bardi’s famed spiral staircase. Continuing the parallels, Julien incorporates Bo Bardi’s signature easels in his film, made of glass and concrete, two elements present in the majority of her work.
The way in which Julien’s film will be installed in Basel continues this representation, as the artist will multiple screens positioned to draw direct comparison with Bo Bardi’s work. Stones Against Diamonds will be shown on a loop, repeated five times within the hour across the ten screens, each time varying slightly to add an element of surprise for the viewer. Richard Carter, Director of Global Communications, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars said, “The precision incorporated into the production of this work is demonstrated by the crew travelling to the ends of the earth to find the rarest, most beautiful natural components in order to create a piece of moving, dramatic and timeless art. This truly reflects Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, where the master craftsmen and women source the world’s finest materials to create rare, unique and exquisite motor cars, which transcend their primary function as a form of conveyance to become works of art themselves.”
more information on isaacjulien.com
photos by harold cunningham