Runa Islam

Born 1970
Hometown Dhaka, Bangladesh
Lives and Works London, England

White Cube, London, England

Inspired by the history and aesthetics of cinema, Bangladeshi-born British artist Runa Islam works mainly with 8, 16, and 35mm film and is noted for her experimental approach to filmmaking. As she is deeply concerned with the experience of viewing, Islam’s films are often presented within the context of deliberately minimal, sober installations. The content of her work meanwhile questions conventional modes of filmmaking: linear narrative is passed over for a circular approach, and recurrent themes—investigations of time, duration, and the act of seeing—favor visual explorations instead of traditional representation. Indeed, Islam’s works are profoundly sophisticated films wherein manipulations of light, color, movement, and abstraction continuously challenge the viewer to recognize and contemplate the “illusion of film."


Islam was nominated for the Tate’s Turner Prize in 2008 and has been included in exhibitions and biennials globally. Solo shows have been staged at Arter in Istanbul, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Site Santa Fe, Musée d’art Contemporain de Montréal, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, Kunsthaus Zurich, Museum Folkwang in Essen, MUMOK in Vienna, the UCLA Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, Dunkers Kulturhus in Helsingborg, the Camden Arts Centre in London, Centre d’Art Santa Monica in Barcelona, and the MIT List Visual Arts Centre in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She has also exhibited at the Queensland Art Museum in Brisbane, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C., Tate Britian, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Venice Biennale, the Göterborg International Biennale for Contemporary Art, and the Istanbul Biennial.

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