Isaac Julien - Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon: Charity Online Auction London Tuesday, March 12, 2024 | Phillips

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  • Isaac Julien KBE RA is the Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon for 2024. The Art Icon Award recognises an artistic practice of great cultural significance. Isaac Julien has changed the way audiences view and experience moving image work – within art spaces and beyond. His pioneering, visually compelling film and video works, alongside his elaborate multi-screen installations, have defined new and important territories for artists and filmmakers.


    Artist Portrait. Photo: Thierry Bal

    Black Apollo diptych (Once Again... Statues Never Die) (2022) is from Isaac Julien most recent series of photographic works created alongside the immersive five-screen film installation Once Again… (Statues Never Die). This body of work explores the relationship between Dr. Albert C. Barnes, who was an early 20th century American philanthropist, pioneering art collector and founder of the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, and the famed philosopher and cultural critic Alain Locke, known as the ‘Father of the Harlem Renaissance’. The works honour Locke’s contribution to the arts while also inviting critical conversations around the African material culture that influenced the Black cultural movement. The writings of Alain Locke and Albert C. Barnes on the meaning and value of African material culture were reproduced in Harlem Renaissance periodicals  of the 1920s including Opportunity, Survey Graphic, and The Crisis.


    Black Apollo diptych references Black Athena histories, the African presence in ancient civilisations, and Albert Barnes’ interest in art collecting. The image interweaves Grecian and Roman idioms with classical Nubian sculpture. It speaks of the importance of the spaces in-between when portraying objects and people in still life and sculpture. The figure is becoming a painting, becoming an object – also becoming a classical mythological hero. The work is a testimony to the plurality of media in the history of Black art and in Julien’s work, in painting and sculpture, film and photography.


    Isaac Julien KBE RA (b. 1960, London, UK) lives and works in London and Santa Cruz, California. He has been making films and producing film installations for over forty years, including Once Again… (Statues Never Die), 2022; Lina Bo Bardi: A Marvellous Entanglement, 2019; Lessons of the Hour, 2019; Stones Against Diamonds, 2015; PLAYTIME, 2014; Ten Thousand Waves, 2010; Western Union: Small Boats, 2007; Fantôme Afrique, 2005; True North, 2004; Baltimore, 2003; Paradise Omeros, 2002; Vagabondia, 2000; and Long Road to Mazatlan, 1999.


    In 2022 Julien received a Knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for the Platinum Jubilee year.

    • Provenance

      Donated by the artist and Victoria Miro, London


Black Apollo Diptych (Once Again... Statues Never Die)

inkjet print
50 x 67 cm (19 5/8 x 26 3/8 in.)
Executed in 2022, this work is number 1 from an edition of 6, plus 2 artist's proofs.

Full Cataloguing

£15,000 - 20,000 


Contact Specialist

Olivia Taylor
Head of Sale
+44 7823 791 633

Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon: Charity Online Auction

12 - 19 March 2024