in Interviews | 01 APR 08
Featured in
Issue 114

Isaac Julien

Isaac Julien is a filmmaker and artist. He curated the current exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery, ‘Derek Jarman: Brutal Beauty’ (23 February – 13 April 2008), which features his new film Derek. His film installation Fantôme Afrique (2005) is also on show at the University Art Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara until 11 May 2008.

in Interviews | 01 APR 08

What is art for?

Changing and enhancing lives.

What images keep you company in the space where you work?

The poster for Derek (2008), my recent film on the life of Derek Jarman; Robert Flaherty’s rare book The Inuit 1910–1922 (1979); and a picture of Eva Pace, the granddaughter of Linda Pace, who died last year. Images from the past, present and future in conversation.

What film has most influenced you?

Jarman’s The Last of England (1988), Jean-Luc Godard’s Sympathy for the Devil/One plus One (1968) and Citizen Kane (1941) by Orson Welles.

What was the first piece of art that really mattered to you?

Gathering for a Demonstration (1928) by Alexander Rodchenko.

What is your favourite title of a film?

Sympathy for the Devil.

What could you imagine doing if you didn’t do what you do?

Being a musician.

What should change? 

Art fairs dominating the art world.

What should stay the same?

My relationship and my mother.

What music are you listening to?

Ali Farka Touré & Toumani Diabaté In the Heart of the Moon (2005).

What are you reading? 

Mediterranean Crossings: The Politics of an Interrupted Modernity (2008) by Iain Chambers.

If you could live with only one piece of art what would it be?

“Untitled” (Perfect Lovers) (1991) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres.

What do you like the look of?

Tilda Swinton’s unique Prada bag.