Isaac Julien

Bohen Foundation

Beginning in the Caribbean, in tropical color and light, Isaac Julien’s Paradise Omeros, 2002, soon moves to London, where it turns concrete gray. Kicking off from Derek Walcott’s book-length poem Omeros, itself inspired by Homer, Julien’s film might take as its slogan the name of Walcott’s stand-in for the Greek blind singer: Seven Seas, which are widespread over the world and nowhere at rest.

Julien is a Londoner whose family comes from Saint Lucia, Walcott’s home. Embedded in Paradise Omeros is a history of migration and dislocation—the stuff of postcolonial studies, here immersed in a proudly aestheticized artwork. The film runs on three screens—a kind of triptych in motion—and the outer two screens angle slightly forward, amplifying the echo of the Renaissance altarpiece with its central panel and folding doors to the sides. Julien’s use of this segmented format is virtuosic, constantly

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the October 2003 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.