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Filmed in her Berlin studio, Julie Mehretu discusses the ups and downs of her daily studio practice.
Mehretu is shown working on the painting Middle Grey (2007–2009), one work in a suite of seven paintings commissioned by the Deutsche Guggenheim as part of the exhibition Julie Mehretu: Grey Area.More information and credits
Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera: Ian Serfontein. Sound: Paul Stadden. Editor: Lizzie Donahue & Paulo Padilha. Artwork Courtesy: Julie Mehretu.
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Julie Mehretu’s paintings and drawings refer to elements of mapping and architecture, achieving a calligraphic complexity that resembles turbulent atmospheres and dense social networks. Architectural renderings and aerial views of urban grids enter the work as fragments, losing their real-world specificity and challenging narrow geographic and cultural readings. The paintings’ wax-like surfaces—built up over weeks and months in thin translucent layers—have a luminous warmth and spatial depth. Her works engage the history of nonobjective art—from Constructivism to Futurism—posing contemporary questions about the relationship between utopian impulses and abstraction.
Julie Mehretu discusses her process of layering and erasing and the different references embodied in any one of her large-scale paintings. This interview was conducted in October 2008, when Mehretu was preparing a new body of work commissioned by Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin, Germany.