in Frieze London | 14 DEC 22

Julien Creuzet to Represent France at the 2024 Venice Biennale

The winner of the 2019 Camden Art Centre Emerging Artist Prize at Frieze is known for his creative use of found materials, drawing on tensions between Caribbean histories and European modernity

in Frieze London | 14 DEC 22

Julien Creuzet, winner of the 2019 Emerging Artist Prize at Frieze, has been selected to represent France at the next Venice Biennale.

This will be the first time that  the French Pavilion been represented by a French-Caribbean artist, following the French-Algerian artist Zineb Sedira’s acclaimed pavilion for the 2022 edition.

Creuzet was chosen by the selection committee, chaired by Chiara Parisi (director, Centre Pompidou-Metz), Catherine Colonna (France’s minister for Europe and foreign affairs) and Rima Abdul Malak (France's minister for culture).

The committee said, “His singular work and his gift for oral literature feed on creolization by bringing together a diversity of materials, stories, shapes and gestures. The questions raised by his works will find, at the French Pavilion in Venice, a particularly important resonance with those of our time. Julien Creuzet was also chosen for the horizons he draws, going beyond the opposition between identity and universality, demonstrating that in the folding of art, the poetic and artistic echoes always trace responses that are as beautiful, joyful and restorative as they are unexpected.”

Julie Creuzet. Photo: © Spela Kasal, courtesy of Document Space.
Julie Creuzet. Photo: © Spela Kasal, courtesy of Document Space

Born in a Parisian banlieue, Creuzet grew up in Martinique and now lives and works in Paris. He places his own lived experience at the heart of his practice whilst allowing the work to shine a light on collective social realities of the Caribbean diaspora, focusing on the troubled intersection between Caribbean histories and the events of European modernity. Creuzet describes his ancestral home, Martinique, as “the heart of my imagination” and the visual and aural languages that collide in his installations migrate and transform through a process of creolisation, entering into a dialogue with the question of emancipation, a spirit of black affirmation and the feeling of the Caribbean diaspora as it exists now.

Creuzet presented his first exhibition at a UK institution, as a result of the Camden Art Centre Emerging Artist Prize at Frieze. Entitled 'Too blue, too deep, too dark we sank (...)', Creuzet's show filled the gallery with a dense installation incorporating music, video, poetry and sculpture. Creuzet’s distinctive sculptural language often repurposes found materials; relics of detritus washed ashore by oceans or the unrelenting progress of history. This installation included a series of new sculptures informed by the insignia on the flags of Caribbean countries which have gained independence after centuries of colonial rule. Creuzet invited visitors to navigate an environment filled with words and symbols, colours and textures, drawn from the heritage of different cultures – allowing relationships between disparate elements to be drawn out through the imagination.

The 60th Venice Biennale will open in spring of 2024.

Read Creuzet's interview with curator and writer Cédric Fauq, about his acclaimed exhibition at Camden Art Centre here 

Watch Martin Clarke, director of Camden Art Centre, speak about their selection of Creuzet for the 2019 Emerging Artist Prize here