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2015 June Places

Stones Against Diamonds

 Isaac Julien for Rolls-Royce


 TAR attended to the opening of Isaac Julien's Installation





 'Stones Against Diamonds'  commissioned by Rolls-Royce, and presented  both at 56th edition of Venice





 Biennale and at ART BASEL 2015,  sat across ten screens in the Neo-Gothic Kirche Elisabethen.

Isaac Julien

Stones Agaist Diamonds, 2015

Still from video


Julien’s film was inspired by a letter written by Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi of the same name, in which she praised semi-precious stones over precious gemstones, turning conventional notions of beauty on their head. The artist and his 50-strong crew travelled to the remote Vatnajökull region of South East Iceland, shooting the film inside caves formed over thousands of years.


Adding to the challenge, Julien incorporated elements of Bo Bardi’s work into these rarely accessible caves, including a staircase built by hand. A larger version of the staircase was recreated during post-production before being merged – via CGI – to replicate Bo Bardi’s famous spiral staircase.


‘It was the breadth of Lina Bo Bardi’s creative impulse and egalitarian beauty of her work that moved me to develop a poetic homage on the art and life of Brazil’s most important woman architect,’ says the artist.


‘Stones Against Diamonds is the beginning of my exploration of her emblematic architectural designs and innovative curatorial strategies that have inspired me following the centenary of her birth in 2014.’


Commissioned by Rolls-Royce, the work is shown on a loop inside the church. It is repeated five times within the hour, varying slightly each time to keep visitors on their toes.




























Isaac Julien commented on the work, “The cave can be read as a metaphor of the unconscious, a place of rich beauty but difficult to access except through the processes of psychoanalysis and artistic reflection. By inserting some of Bo Bardi’s emblematic architectural elements in the cave, such as her iconic spiral staircase and glass easels, I hope to make a connection between her work and these organic aspects, the stones and the carved glacial ice, the simplicity of forms that was one of Lina’s signatures.


Stones against Diamonds is a prelude to a larger piece that Julien is to complete in 2016, which will meditate on Bo Bardi’s creative production, and will be shot in Italy and Brazil. After being shown in Basel at the Elisabethen Kirchen, the work has been donated to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London.




























Stones Against Diamonds is commissioned as part of the Rolls-Royce art programme, which draws together the handcrafted elegance of the marque’s motor cars with contemporary artists around the world. Internationally acclaimed artists including Ugo Rondinone, Erwin Wurm, Regina Silveira, Will Cotton, Angela Bulloch and Morgan Wong have featured in the programme.






Installation View-

Isaac Julien - Stones Agaist Diamonds, 2015 -

Kirche Elisabethen

Photo: Harold Cunningham


Installation View-

Isaac Julien - Stones Agaist Diamonds, 2015 -

Kirche Elisabethen

Photo: Harold Cunningham


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