Julie Mehretu's Solo Exhibition at the White Cube, Bermondsey

Written by: Rebecca Bury



Time to read 4 min

Julie Mehretu's art has always been a journey—an exploration of space, identity, and the intricacies of the human experience. Her current solo exhibition at the White Cube in Bermondsey, London, is no exception. In this article, we delve into the profound meaning of this exhibition, the artist's inspiration, and some of the key works that define this captivating showcase. Catch the exhibition from 15th September - 5th November.

The Artist

Julie Mehretu is celebrated for her abstract cartographic art, which combines intricate mark-making and layered compositions to create complex, multi-dimensional artworks. Her solo exhibition at the White Cube carries her distinctive style forward and presents a compelling exploration of identity and the urban landscape.


Mehretu is a prominent contemporary artist known for her captivating and intricate works that explore themes of space, identity, and the urban landscape. Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 1970, she later moved to the United States, where she pursued her artistic career. Her art career has been marked by an exploration of the interconnectedness between the individual and the city, a subject she delves into through her signature style. Her art is a complex tapestry of lines, shapes, and colours, evoking a dynamic sense of movement and transformation. Her works often serve as reflections on the complexities of urban life, globalisation, and the transnational nature of identity. Throughout her career, Julie Mehretu has gained international recognition and acclaim for her thought-provoking and visually stunning contributions to the art world, solidifying her place as a leading figure in contemporary art.

The Exhibition

Julie Mehretu's inspiration for this exhibition draws from her own experiences as an artist of Ethiopian descent living and working in New York City, as well as the broader themes of globalisation and transnationalism. Her art serves as a reflection of her place in the world and her interpretation of the spaces she inhabits.


Mehretu's exhibition at the White Cube is a visual journey into the relationship between individual identity and the broader context of the city. It raises questions about how our surroundings, experiences, and interactions shape who we are. Displayed in conjunction with Mehretu's pieces is a sculpture crafted by visual artist Nairy Baghramian, reflective of the artists’ ongoing artistic conversation. At its core, this exhibition seeks to explore the idea that our identities are not fixed but are instead shaped and reshaped by the spaces we occupy and the dynamic interplay between personal and communal experiences.

Directing a focus towards enduring conflict, widespread displacement and the asymmetry of power, Mehretu takes as her subject images sourced from current affairs media, in particular the ongoing war in Ukraine and the events of the US Capitol insurrection of 6 January 2021.

White Cube, Bermondsey, London

One of the defining characteristics of Julie Mehretu's art is her intricate and layered mark-making. Her canvases are a testament to the conversations she has with the medium, with each layer representing a different thought or experience. As she creates these layers, the canvas becomes a composition of her creative process, a reflection of the complexity of urban life, and a visual narrative of our constant evolution.


Mehretu's work also touches on the broader themes of globalisation and transnationalism. Her own identity, as someone of Ethiopian descent living in the United States, has influenced her perspective. She grapples with the idea that we are all, in some way, global citizens, influenced by multiple cultural and geographical contexts. Her art becomes a reflection of the interconnectedness of the world.


In Julie Mehretu's art, the city is not just a backdrop; it's a character in its own right. She understands the power of space and place, how it shapes us, how we shape it, and how it becomes a part of our identity. Her works are a testament to the idea that the city is not just a physical environment but a living, breathing entity—a repository of stories, memories, and experiences.


Julie Mehretu's art invites viewers into a conversation about identity, space, and place. It encourages us to reflect on the cities we inhabit, the stories we carry, and the connections we forge. The layers of her art are an invitation to peel back the complex narratives of urban life, revealing the beauty in the chaos, the meaning in the marks, and the individual within the collective.

Julie Mehretu
White Cube, Bermondsey

Collecting Julie Mehretu Works

Julie Mehretu's art, including her prints, has gained significant attention in the art market. Her unique style, layered compositions, and thought-provoking themes have made her a sought-after artist for collectors. Collecting Julie Mehretu prints is an opportunity to engage with a complex and ever-evolving world. Each print is a unique map of the human experience, an abstract cartography that represents the interplay between identity and the urban landscape. Prices for her prints have seen steady appreciation over the years, making them not only a compelling addition to one's art collection but also a potentially valuable investment.

Julie Mehretu
White Cube, Bermondsey, London

Julie Mehretu's solo exhibition at the White Cube in Bermondsey is a captivating journey through the intricate layers of urban life, identity, and the interconnectedness of our global world. Her art serves as a visual exploration of the places we inhabit and the spaces that, in turn, inhabit us. In a rapidly changing world, her work provides a space for reflection and contemplation, encouraging us to consider the dynamic relationship between the individual and the landscape. As you walk through the exhibition, you are not merely a spectator; you are an active participant in the ongoing dialogue between art, artist, and the world.