Julie Brook: Pigment at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham

On view in Ikon’s small turret, the Tower Room, Pigment (2013) is an eight and a half minute film, shot in a cave in Namibia. Filmmaker and land artist, Julie Brook, met with three young Himba women in Otjize, when travelling through North-West Namibia, offering them a lift. In return for this and the loan of her pickaxe, Julie was invited to mine red pigment with them and to film the process. While they would usually crush and mix this substance with animal fat and scented herbs before rubbing onto their skin, the artist made drawings with the saturated reds of the dirt.

The film piece finds the four women in the russet-coloured dust, lit by shafts of glowing sunlight, creating a deeply evocative atmosphere. Brook’s works often take from the spirit and actuality of their location, otherwise taking place in the Isle of Skye, Hebrides or Libyan desert, providing an insight into her personal experience of each individual environment.

Brook will take part in a BBC documentary about Land Art being filmed in autumn 2015, where she will make new works of art in Scotland.

Julie Brook: Pigment, 22 July – 27 September, Ikon Gallery, 1 Oozells Square, Brindleyplace, Birmingham B1 2HS.

Learn more at ikon-gallery.org.

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1. Julie Brook, still from Pigment (2013). Courtesy of the artist and Ikon Gallery.