The London-based international artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien will be the featured artist in the Atrium at MoMA, New York with his major multi-screen installation, Ten Thousand Waves (2010) opening on 25 November 2013.
Ten Thousand Waves will be installed in the spectacular Donald B and Catherine C Marron Atrium at MoMA. The original inspiration for 50-minute work was the Morecambe Bay tragedy of 2004, in which more than 20 Chinese cockle pickers drowned on a flooded sandbank off the coast in northwest England. Julien poetically interweaves contemporary Chinese culture with its ancient myths—including the fable of the goddess Mazu (played by Maggie Cheung), which comes from the Fujian Province, from where the Morecambe Bay workers originated. In one section, the Tale of Yishan Island, Julien recounts the story of 16th-century fishermen lost at sea. Central to the legend is the sea goddess figure who leads the fishermen to safety. In a preceding section, shot at the Shanghai Film Studios, actress Zhao Tao takes part in a re-enactment of the classic 1930s Chinese film The Goddess. Additional collaborators include calligrapher Gong Fagen, the film and video artist Yang Fudong, cinematographer Zhao Xiaoshi and poet Wang Ping from whom Julien commissioned “Small Boats”, a poem that is recited in Ten Thousand Waves. The installation is staged on the streets of both modern and old Shanghai, and includes music and sounds that fuse Eastern and Western traditions with contributions from, among others, London-based musician Jah Wobble and the Chinese Dub Orchestra, and an original score by Spanish contemporary classical composer Maria de Alvear.
Julien was born in 1960 in London, where he currently lives and works. He co-founded Sankofa Film and Video Collective in which he was active from 1983–1992 and he was also a founding member of Normal Films in 1991. He was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2001 for his films The Long Road to Mazatlán (1999), made in collaboration with Javier de Frutos and Vagabondia (2000), choreographed by Javier de Frutos. Earlier works include Frantz Fanon: Black Skin, White Mask (1996), Young Soul Rebels (1991) which was awarded the Semaine de la Critique Prize at the Cannes Film Festival the same year, and the acclaimed poetic documentary Looking for Langston (1989), which also won several international awards.
He has had solo shows at the Pompidou Centre in Paris (2005), MOCA Miami (2005), Kestnergesellschaft, Hanover (2006), the Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea – Museu do Chiado, Lisbon, Portugal (2009), Museum Brandhorst, Munich (2011) and most recently at SESC Pompeia in Brazil (2012).
His work Paradise Omeros was presented as part of Documenta XI in Kassel (2002). In 2003 he won the Grand Jury Prize at the Kunstfilm Biennale in Cologne for his single screen version of Baltimore; in 2008, he received a Special Teddy for his film that he collaborated on with Tilda Swinton, on Derek Jarman, called Derek, at the Berlin International Film Festival.
Isaac Julien, Maiden of Silence (Ten Thousand Waves), 2010, Endura Ultra photograph, 180 x 240cm, Courtesy of the artist, Metro Pictures, New York and Victoria Miro Gallery, London.
Left Photo: Isaac Julien, Maiden of Silence (Ten Thousand Waves), 2010, Endura Ultra photograph, 180 x 240cm, Courtesy of the artist, Metro Pictures, New York and Victoria Miro Gallery, London.
Right Photo: Isaac Julien, Green Screen Goddess (Ten Thousand Waves), 2010, Endura Ultra photograph, Triptych (detail), each 180 x 240cm, Courtesy of the artist, Victoria Miro Gallery, London, Metro Pictures, New York and Galería Helga de Alvear, Madrid.
Multi-screen installation for The Donald B and Catherine C Marron Atrium, MoMA
11 West 53 St, NY 10019
Dates: 25 November 2013 – 17 February 2014
Isaac Julien: Playtime: Capital (2013)
Metro Pictures, 519 W 24th St, Manhattan, NY 10011
Dates: 7 November – 14 December 2013