Isaac Julien (British, b.1960) Mazu, Silence (Ten Thousand Waves), 2010 Endura Ultra photograph 70 7/8 x 94 1/2 inches Courtesy of the artist, Victoria Miro Gallery, London and Metro Pictures, New York


December 2, 2010 through March 6, 2011 – Bass Museum

Creative presents the most comprehensive exhibition of the artist’s work in the last ten years. The exhibition features the US premiere of the installation Ten Thousand Waves along with films and photographs from earlier series Paradise Omeros, Baltimore and Vagabondia. In subtle yet complex narratives, Julien’s body of work is a meditation on the cultural impact of global migration. His installations are presented on an epic scale; poetic and art-historical references are interwoven into frank portrayals of human drama.

Julien came to prominence in the film world with his 1989 drama-documentary Looking for Langston, gaining a cult following with this poetic exploration of Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance. This following was expanded in 1991 when his film Young Soul Rebels won the Semaine de la Critique prize for best film at the Cannes Film Festival.

One of the objectives of Julien’s work is to break down the barriers that exist between different artistic disciplines, drawing from and commenting on film, dance, photography, music, theatre, painting and sculpture, and uniting these to construct a powerfully visual narrative. Thematically, much of his work directly relates to experiences of black and gay identity (he is himself gay), including issues of class, sexuality, and artistic and cultural history. He was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2001, and in 2003 he won the Grand Jury Prize at the Kunst filmBiennale in Cologne for his single screen version of Baltimore. Julien is also a documentary filmmaker – his work in this genre includes BaadAsssss Cinema, a film on the history and influence of blaxploitation cinema.

Julien lives and works in London. In September 2009 he became a professor at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design.

Museum Hours