Ten Thousand Waves, 2010
  • © Isaac Julien. Photo Fondation Louis

    Vuitton / Martin Argyroglo

  • © Isaac Julien. Photo Fondation Louis

    Vuitton / Martin Argyroglo

  • © Isaac Julien. Photo Fondation Louis

    Vuitton / Martin Argyroglo

  • © Isaac Julien. Photo Fondation Louis

    Vuitton / Martin Argyroglo

  • © Isaac Julien. Photo Fondation Louis

    Vuitton / Martin Argyroglo

A polyphony of places and times shown on nine screens, "Ten Thousand Waves" (2010) offers an evocative meditation on the theme of displacement and immigration.

Its starting point is an event that occurred in Britain in 2004, in Morecambe Bay, when 23 Chinese cockle pickers, who had been smuggled illegally into the country, drowned on the incoming tide. The artist links this event to a 16th century Chinese legend about sailors saved by the goddess of the sea, Mazu. Shot in Shanghai and Guangxi province with leading figures from the Chinese artistic scene including actresses Maggie Cheung and Zhao Tao, artist Yang Fudong and master calligrapher Gong Fagen, the installation pays homage to Chinese culture in poetry, landscape, calligraphy and 1930s cinema. Weaving together a remake of the silent film The Goddess (1934), views of modern Shanghai, demonstrations on Tiananmen Square, the tea ceremony, scenes from the filming of Mazu levitating, and sequences of drownings, it immerses the viewer in a floating world that merges reality and myth.
Interview of the Artist
Isaac Julien talks about his artwork "Ten Thousand Waves"
03:57

Isaac Julien

Born in 1960, in London (United Kingdom)
Lives and works in London (United Kingdom)

A British artist with Caribbean roots, Isaac Julien examines the black and Asian diasporas since the Thatcher years through his favoured medium, film.

Learn more about the artist