Immersive film exhibition towards Bechtler in Charlotte, NC


Enter the fourth-floor gallery of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art after October 30, and you’ll see an immersive, multi-layered film exhibit about Italian-Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi.

In “Isaac Julien: Lina Bo Bardi – A Marvelous Entanglement”, nine screens – each showcasing various art forms and an interaction with time and space – share pieces of the life and work of the famous architect and designer, in the midst of its modernist buildings.

British artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien created the work in Rome, although Charlotte’s installation will mark its first in American museums.

Bo Bardi was a key figure in Modernist architecture and culture, said Todd Smith, executive director of Becthler. “She had a great influence on the design work, with her writings, with her work as a curator as well, and with her time in Italy, Brazil,” he said. “It has come back on the radar of architectural historians in recent years.

Likewise, Julien has been on Smith’s radar for a long time, he said, “looking at historical figures and trying to bring them back into public consciousness.”

For about 25 years, Julien has introduced and developed screen installations in contemporary art. His 1989 documentary-drama “Looking for Langston” was a cinematic exploration of the desire of black homosexuals and the Harlem Renaissance.

A reflection on Bo Bardi

The installation directed to the Bechtler is a reflection on Bo Bardi’s Brazilian projects from the 1960s to the 1980s. The story of his life is interpreted by Brazilian mother-daughter actresses Fernanda Montenegro and Fernanda Torres. It was filmed in several locations in Brazil, including the São Paulo Art Museum, Bahia Museum of Modern Art and Salvador’s Teatro Gregório de Matos.

The film plays with our perception of time, inspired by the thoughts of Bo Bardi: “Linear time is a Western invention; time is not linear, it is a marvelous tangle where, at any moment, points can be chosen and solutions invented, without beginning or end.

“Lina Bo Bardi – A Marvelous Entanglement” by Isaac Julien is a nine-screen installation that will open at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art on October 30. Courtesy of Isaac Julien and Victoria Miro

Smith said the work challenges the traditional way in which most visitors go to an art museum, sweeping the room, looking at one piece of art, and then walking to the next.

“This job really requires you to be part of the experience. The show highlights the importance of movement and space. It’s a whole different way of talking about the show – the bodily experience among these nine screens with sound and people moving through space, as they watch and listen and are part of the installation.

Julien started Bo Bardi’s work several years ago and completed it in 2019 as a sensory experience.

“It’s not meant to be a documentary about his life, nor a documentary about his architecture,” Smith said. “On the contrary, a truly magnificent and poetic treatment of who she was as an individual and how she contributed to a cultural conversation in Italy and, more importantly, Brazil.”

“The legacy of modernism”

Much of Julien’s work has focused on breaking down barriers between artistic disciplines and exploring themes such as race, history and migration through installation and filmmaking. This is one of the main reasons why Julien’s job is a perfect fit for the Bechters, Smith said.

“One of the things we try to do with the new exhibitions is to examine not only some of the key ideas of modern art, but also what are some of the legacies of modernism that we see artists still grappling with today. ‘hui,’ he said. “As we spoke internally about how we wanted to emerge from the pandemic and present the museum for its next chapter, it became clear that Julien’s work was what we wanted to be right now. “

“Beautiful Souls, Less Beautiful Souls” is one of the works included in “Isaac Julien: Lina Bo Bardi – A Marvelous Entanglement”. Courtesy of Isaac Julien and Jessica Silverman

The Julien exhibition will replace ‘Twentieth Century Women’, an exhibition that featured over 100 works by 22 artists and focused on the artistic achievements of women in the Bechtler collections.

Other highlights of the season announced include ‘Annemarie Schwarzenbach: Departure Without Destination’, a major retrospective dedicated to the photography of the Swiss writer, photographer and journalist, and a celebration of the works of one of the founders of minimalism. and conceptual art, American artist Sol LeWitt.

“Isaac Julien: Lina Bo Bardi – A wonderful entanglement”

Or: Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, 420 S. Tryon St.

When: Exhibition from October 30, 2021 to February 27, 2022.


This story is part of an Observer fundraising project with the Thrive Campaign for the Arts, which supports arts journalism in Charlotte.

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