About the Artist
Isaac Julien is as acclaimed for his fluent, arresting films as his vibrant and inventive gallery installations. One of the objectives of his work is to break down the barriers that exist between different artistic disciplines, drawing from and commenting on film, dance, photography, music, theatre, painting and sculpture, and uniting them to construct a powerfully visual narrative.
Looking for Langston: Isaac Julien in conversation with Hilton Als
Artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien and Pulitzer Prize winning critic and author Hilton Als first met in the late 1980s, when Julien was researching his seminal film Looking for Langston. Als went on to become one of the writers of the 1989 film, which is a lyrical exploration of the private world of poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist Langston Hughes (1902 - 1967) and his fellow black artists and writers who formed the Harlem Renaissance during the 1920s.
“I think that one of the things that linked us was that we were really looking for something that explained how we had come to be…” Hilton Als
On the occasion of Julien’s exhibition of photographic works “I dream a world” Looking for Langston, at Victoria Miro (18 May - 29 July 2017), they discuss the genesis of the film, their shared love of Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance, the work’s relationship to black gay desire, to AIDS and to questions of discrimination, and how, as Julien says, “these questions return to haunt the present.”