Film artist to speak at Museum of Contemporary Art Thursday in advance of his new exhibit downtown


From Museum Reports

The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego will present the West Coast debut of Isaac Julien’s immersive nine-screen video installation, “Ten Thousand Waves,”

Feb. 25-Dec. 1 in the Farrell Gallery downtown.

The work poetically weaves together three stories linking China’s ancient past and present, and explores the movement of people across countries and continents, meditating on unfinished journeys.

Through formal experimentation and a series of unique collaborations, Julien, who is known for his arresting films, as well as his

dynamic gallery installations, seeks to engage with Chinese culture through contemporary events, ancient myths, and artistic practice.

Following ideas surrounding death, spiritual displacement, and the uniquely Chinese connection with “ghosts,” the film links the Shanghai of the past and present, symbolizing the Chinese transition towards modernity and affluence.

Julien, who lives and works in London, will also be the featured speaker at MCASD’s annual Russell Lecture, 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23 in Sherwood Auditorium at the museum’s La Jolla galleries at 700 Prospect St. Tickets are free for MCASD members and UCSD faculty and students on a first-come, first-served basis. General admission tickets are $15 at

Conceived and made over four years, “Ten Thousand Waves” was filmed on location in the ravishing and remote Guangxi province and at the famous Shanghai Film Studios and various sites around Shanghai.

Julien said he 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 and the Chinese Dub Orchestra and Maria de Alvear.

In addition to Ten Thousand Waves, MCASD will

also present Julien’s single-screen projection “True North” (2004), as well as several photographic stills including two that have never been seen before.

“True North” is loosely inspired by the story of the black American explorer Matthew Henson who was one of the first people to reach the North Pole. This meditative installation offers a fascinating new visual reading of space and time and its relation to counter histories.

MCASD is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday-Tuesday (closed Wednesday) at 1001 and 1100 Kettner Blvd. between Broadway and B Streets. Admission is $5-$10. (858) 454-3541.