2010, Installation view, The Hayward Gallery, London Nine screen installation, 35mm film, transferred to High Definition 9.2 surround sound, 49" 41". Courtesy of the artist, Metro Pictures, Thành Phố New York và Victoria Miro Gallery, London.

2010, Endura Ultra photograph, 180 x 240 centimet. Courtesy of the artist, Metro Pictures, Thành Phố New York và Victoria Miro Gallery, London.

2010, Endura Ultra photograph, 180 x 240 cm. Courtesy of the artist, Metro Pictures, Thành Phố New York and Victoria Miro Gallery, London.

Endura Ultra photograph, 180 x 240 centimet. Courtesy of the artist, Metro Pictures, Thủ đô New York and Victoria Miro Gallery, London.


British artist Isaac Julien is acclaimed for his arresting films as well as his dynamic gallery installations. TEN THOUSAND WAVES, his most ambitious project to date, poetically weaves together stories linking China’s ancient past và present. This nine-screen Clip installation explores the movement of people across countries và continents và meditates on unfinished journeys.

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Conceived and made over four years, Ten Thous& Waves was filmed on location in the ravishing & remote Guangxi Province & at the famous Shangnhì Film Studgame ios & various sites around Shangnhì. Through formal experimentation and a series of chất lượng collaborations, Julien seeks to lớn engage with Chinese culture through contemporary events, ancient myths & artistic practice. Julien engaged many of China’s leading artistic voices, including: the legendary siren of Chinese cinema Maggie Cheung; rising star of Chinese film Zhao Tao; poet Wang Ping; master calligrapher Gong Fagen; artist Yang Fudong; acclaimed cinematographer Zhao Xiaoshi; and a 100-strong Chinese cast and crew.

The film’s original musical score is by fellow east Londoner Jah Wobble và the Chinese Dub Orchestra và Maria de Alvear. The original inspiration for Ten Thousand Waves was the Morecambe Bay Tragedy of 2004, in which 23 Chinese cocklepickers died. In response to lớn this sự kiện, Julien commissioned the poet Wang Ping khổng lồ come khổng lồ Englvà & write Small Boats, a poem that is recited in the work. in the successive years, Julien has spent time in China slowly coming khổng lồ understand the country and its people’s perspectives and developing the relationships that have enabled hyên ổn to undertake this rich và multifaceted work.

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Over time, Julien uncovered a symbolic body of material which he has used lớn create a work that explores modern & traditional Chinese values and superstitions. Julien retells a fable about the goddess Mazu (Maggie Cheung), who comes from fujian province, the same region where the Morecambe bay cockle-pickers originated. in the tale of Yishan Isl&, 16th-century fishermen are lost at sea until the goddess figure leads them tosafety. Using this fable as a starting point Julien, deftly draws poignant connections lớn the 21st-century tragedy of Chinese migrants who died struggling khổng lồ survive in the north of Englvà. Following ideas surrounding death, spiritual displacement, và the uniquely Chinese connection with “ghosts,” the film link Shanghai of the past & present, symbolizing the Chinese transition towards modernity và affluence. Julien employs the visual language of ghost stories: recurrent figures and images appear & disappear. Mazu’s spectral khung traverses time và space, serving as a guide through interlocking strands of the work. Mirroring the goddess of the fable, a ghostly protagonist (Zhao Tao) leads viewers through the world of Chinese cinema’s golden period via the Shangnhì film Studio, to a restaging by Julien of scenes from the The Goddess (1934), and finally lớn the streets of modern & old Shangnhị. Julien deploys the visual và aural textures of the film to lớn elicit a visceral response from the viewer, submerging them in the world of his making.

isaac Julien: Ten Thousvà Waves is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and is made possible thanks lớn a generous gift from Maryanne & Irwin Pfister. Additional tư vấn for this exhibition is provided by the Lindomain authority Pace Foundation. Related programs are supported by grants from The James Irvine Foundation Arts Innovation Fund, & the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Fund. Institutional support for bigbiglands.com is provided, in part, by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts và Culture.

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