Art at Scale. The monumental artworks of Julie Mehretu
Have you ever been immersed in a work of art? That's the feeling you can get in Julie Mehretu’s work. Today, we invite you to discover her creations...
It all begins in Ethiopia, where Julie was born. An event will mark her forever. She was only seven years old when the revolution in Ethiopia began. She and her family are forced to flee the country and settle in the United States. There, she discovered a passion for art and began an artistic career. Her creative vision will be primarily influenced by her experiences and her perception of society.
Today she is a contemporary artist known for her abstract paintings and prints. Her large-scale works are imposing. They are so imposing that Julie has to use scaffolding to work on them.
In the museum, one can spend hours contemplating her paintings. Nothing is left to chance. What makes them original are the superimposed textures, images, and other elements. Among the colored lines, ink marks, and painting sprays, we can find topographical and architectural elements.
Julie wants to exploit all the possibilities of the space through the superimposition of time, space, places, and history. According to the author, her works have several levels of reading, they have no beginning or end. This lets the imagination take over.
“As you come close to it […] the big picture completely shatters and there are these numerous small narratives happening.” she says.
Julie Mehretu is a woman who knows what she wants and where she is going. She combines expressionism, futurism, and graffiti to create thought-provoking artworks and trigger a reflection on the individual's place within contemporary society.
Photo 1-2: Mehretu with one of her monumental canvases. Artist Julie Mehretu temporarily moved her studio into the former church of St. Thomas the Apostle in Harlem. Photography: Jason Schmidt for Arch Digest
Photo 3-4: Julie Mehretu paintings. Credits: Julie Mehretu
Photo 5: Janna Conner in front of Julie Mehretu's painting Cairo (2013) at The Broad Museum Los Angeles