Press Release

Opening October 9th, Galeria Nara Roesler is pleased to present Playtime, Isaac Julien’s second solo exhibition at the gallery. One of the most widely acclaimed video artists of our time, he was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2001; and received numerous awards such as the MIT McDermott Award (2001); Rockefeller Humanities Fellowship Award (1995); and the Semaine de la Critique Prize at the Cannes Film Festival (1991). The British artist will showcase his latest and most ambitious production to date: Playtime (2013).

 

The piece is a scathing critique of capital and its connections with the art world and individuals. Its three-act structure is set in iconic places of the economic crisis that swept the world in 2008: London, whose banking system collapsed; Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, whose economy was wrecked in two weeks by a succession of strategic errors in managing the crisis' effects on the three local banks; and Dubai, a Middle East financial hub.

 

Representing different aspects of the issue raised by Julien, six characters are archetypically constructed: the Artist, the Investor, the Auctioneer, the Maid, the Art Dealer and the Reporter. Playtime explores the particular ways in which each of these characters is affected by capital and the world economic crisis.

 

In a global scenario where relationships increasingly take place via economic deals and transactions, what is the role of the human being? In its narrative, Playtime appropriates luxury locations that border on sterility with their harmonic, calculated artificiality. In these locations, people never seem completely at ease, unless they are playing a role in the financial game.

 

The sets, costumes and technical aspects are expertly done and the cast features world-class names, including movie actors, similar to Julien's former productions like Ten Thousand Waves (2010). Led by James Franco, the cast comprises Maggie Cheung, Mercedes Cabral, Colin Salmon and Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson, featuring Simon de Pury.

 

After travelling to several cities around the world, including London, New York and Sydney, Isaac Julien and his classy Playtime are now set to arrive in São Paulo.