Rolls-Royce Motor Cars will present the first public showing of Isaac Julien’s new film Stones Against Diamonds during Art Basel in Basel, from June 16-17, 2015. Commissioned as part of the Rolls-Royce Art Programme, Isaac Julien’s film draws inspiration from a letter written by prolific Brazilian architect and designer Lina Bo Bardi. As one of Brazil’s most important architects, Bo Bardi’s famous works include The Glass House and the São Paulo Museum of Art. A modernist, Bo Bardi lionized the beauty of natural elements over that of precious stones. She was also known for her spiral staircases and minimalist “glass easels” made of rectangular glass sheets anchored in square concrete bases  that allowed artwork to practically float in air.

rolls-royce art basel isaac julien bo bardi

Isaac Julien’s film incorporates these signature elements from Bo Bardi’s work. While filming during sub-zero temperatures in the remote Vatnajökull region, in southeast Iceland, the 50-person crew meticulously built by hand in an ice cave during production. That staircase was then superimposed with a larger CGI rendering to fully replicate Bo Bardi’s famous spiral staircase. The glacial caves in which they filmed hold beauty formed over thousands of years and are only accessible during a few days due to extreme weather conditions. Using the breathtaking natural scenery of glistening ice caves as a set for the film, Julien portrays some of the most beautiful objects typically seen as the more precious than these natural structures as being far less valuable in a conventional sense.

Julien also incorporates Bo Bardi’s signature easels in his film. The installation at Basel will include ten screens positioned to draw direct parallels to the architect’s work. Stones Against Diamonds will be shown on a loop, repeated five times within the hour across the multiple screens, each time varying slightly for the viewer.

Although previewed during the Venice Biennale earlier this year, the Basel experimental installation will be shown on a larger scale inside the Kirche Elisabethen church.

The Rolls-Royce Art Programme seeks to connect with contemporary artists that put the same level of craftsmanship into their art as the brand values incorporating into its motor cars. Other Rolls-Royce Art Programme internationally acclaimed artists include Ugo Rondinone, Erwin Wurm, Regina Silveira, Will Cotton, Angela Bulloch and Morgan Wong.