Julie Mehretu

Julie Mehretu

The In-Between Place

Interview with the American artist Julie Mehretu about how her perspective is the result of a ”very important shift” in her life, which occurred when her family moved to the US from Ethiopia. Mehretu fuses forms in order to create an 'in-between place'.

In this interview New York based Ethiopian born artist Julie Mehretu (b.1970) talks about how she uses abstract art to create a psychological space for herself. Mehretu explains how her perspective and interest is informed by this ”very important shift” which occurred when her family moved to the US right after the Ethiopian revolution. Her paintings are in some ways an attempt at making sense of herself as situated in a kind of in-between psychological space: ”There’s this type of spacial shift that has occurred, and there’s a connection, a kind of psychological space, making sense of a place.”

Mehretu explains that she likes working with abstraction because it is ”an in-between place”. New forms are created through the intermingling of space and drawing, social and political elements and controlled moments combined with the intuitive. The paintings have many levels of reading, feeling, engaging, and they have no beginning nor end, Mehretu says: ”You can see through everything.”

Julie Mehretu is known for her densely-layered abstract paintings and prints. Her paintings are built up through layers of acrylic paint on canvas, overlaid with mark-making using pencil, pen, ink and thick streams of paint. Her canvases overlay different architectural features.

Julie Mehretu was interviewed by Jesper Bundgaard at Marian Goodman Gallery, New York in 2013.

Camera and editing: Per Henriksen
Produced by: Louisiana Channel
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2013

Supported by Nordea-fonden

  • Karl Ove Knausgård

    On 'Madame Bovary'

    “This controlled perfection, that I usually don’t like, elevates it.” Karl Ove Knausgård – author of ‘My Struggle’ – here shares his love of the classic novel ‘Madame Bovary’ by Gustave Flaubert, which he has read three times at different stages of his life.

  • Günther Uecker

    Advice to the Young

    German artist Günther Uecker (b. 1930) – one of the most prominent members of the ZERO Group – here stresses the importance of not adhering to the conventions of society, but to follow one’s own voice: “Don’t rush to the guillotine, assert yourself first.”

  • Günther Uecker

    Poetry Made with a Hammer

    “We need images to cross the boundary of the unutterable.” The moving story of Günther Uecker – a legendary German artist, who expresses his artistic belief by means of a hammer and nails, thus reflecting his dark experiences from World War II.

  • Sambuichi

    Sun, Water and Air

    Travel through an enchanting sea of light and darkness orchestrated by the praised Japanese architect Hiroshi Sambuichi. He here shares his thoughts behind the wondrous water and light installation set in an old underground water reservoir.

  • Orhan Pamuk

    Do Not Hope for Continuity

    “I ran away, but I returned, and I will continue to tell its story. It’s natural that I write about it because this is the best place I know.” Watch Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk in this interview about his relationship with Istanbul – now and then.

  • Mette Winckelmann

    Woman to Woman

    ”You must evaluate whether the system you’re part of could be effectuated differently.” Meet artist Mette Winckelmann, who believes that abstract painting communicates deeper than language, and explore her visual take on gender politics.

  • Wang Shu

    Architecture is a Job for God

    The Chinese architect Wang Shu’s buildings – a crossover between traditional Chinese culture and large-scale modern architecture – have earned him prestigious awards. “Democracy means a really diverse society,” says the architect in this inspiring interview.

  • Margrethe Odgaard

    Colour Diary of New York

    Becoming more aware of your surroundings can “open a new dimension inside as well as outside yourself.” Meet award-winning Danish designer Margrethe Odgaard who has trained herself to register the world through colours.

  • Adam Caruso

    Novelty is nonsense

    "The European city is one of the great human inventions!” Adam Caruso advocates building with a deep sense of history and tradition. Meet the architect behind the award-winning Tate Britain conversion and numerous Gagosian galleries.

  • Thomas Hirschhorn

    A World of Collage

    Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn juxtaposes pixelated images from the media. His works are not about technology, says the artist: “I try to give form to what I can’t accept: that someone else can decide for me what I should do, see or think.”

  • Jonathan Safran Foer

    On Donald Trump

    Jonathan Safran Foer, star of American literature, offers interesting views on America’s new president and the consequences Trump will have on American culture. "The place for literature may be even more important than before," he says.

  • Dorte Mandrup

    Where Place Meets Sculpture

    Rising from the landscape in a place rich with materiality and history sits architect Dorte Mandrup’s new Wadden Sea Centre. Meet the renowned architect and see a building were “everything comes together.”