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Julie Becker: I must create a Master Piece to pay the Rent

The first survey exhibition devoted to the work of the late Julie Becker (1972–2016).

Embedded in the psychological, cinematic and material geographies of Los Angeles, her home city, Becker produced a legendary, yet underrepresented body of installations, sculpture, drawings, photographs and video. These works speak to the language and mythology of the late 20th century American Dream turned nightmare. Within Becker’s drawings and videos of dreamlike scenarios, such shared cultural references collide with an idiosyncratic, and at times, dark aura of childish wonder and projection. In her work, interior spaces appear psychically charged and provisional, conjuring sites for potential refuge and fantastical escape.

Becker reflected on her own living experiences of spaces of precarity, such as a single room occupancy hotel or a dilapidated building caught in the flux of real estate speculation while constructing altered narratives around other real and fictional lives. Throughout her work, Becker navigated the formations of truth, fiction and myth in both the material and symbolic realm. Considering the present historical moment, where a real estate mogul-cum-reality TV celebrity occupies the position of ‘leader of the free world’, Becker’s singular aesthetic visions unerringly articulate the fantasies and dispossessions underpinning the social imaginary of late-capitalism.


Julie Becker: I must create a Master Piece to pay the Rent is at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, SW1Y 5AH from 8 June – 12 August. Entry is £1.

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