Press release

ICA 75th anniversary celebrations continue with two new exhibitions opening Oct. 28

Only east coast museum presentation of Isaac Julien’s acclaimed video installation
Ten Thousand Waves

First solo museum exhibition of Jessica Jackson Hutchins

(BOSTON – Oct. 11, 2011) On Oct. 28, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA) opens two new shows—Isaac Julien: Ten Thousand Waves and Jessica Jackson Hutchins—rounding out an exciting season of 75th anniversary exhibitions. The celebrations continue through the end of the year with knitting installations by Liz Collins (Oct. 16 and Nov. 25); a talk by Paul Chan and William Forsythe (Nov. 1); and performances by Jérôme Bel (Nov. 4-6), Trisha Brown Dance Company (Nov. 11-13), and Trajal Harrell and Sarah Sze (Nov. 18-20). The ICA’s 75th anniversary season concludes on Dec. 10 with a free birthday party including live music and dance performances, exhibition tours, art-making and more. The Bank of America Charitable Foundation is proud to be the Celebration Sponsor for the ICA 75th Birthday.

Isaac Julien: Ten Thousand Waves
Oct. 28, 2011—March 4, 2012

Isaac Julien’s Ten Thousand Waves is an immersive, nine-screen, installation that poetically weaves together stories linking China's ancient past and present. Julien, a world-renowned British artist, has mainly worked in film and video, and has been credited for opening up a new dimension in video installation. Mostly shot in China, Ten Thousand Waves features the actresses Maggie Cheung and Zhao Tao, the impressive heroine in Jia Zhangke's 24 City. The young video artist Yang Fudong, the poet Wang Ping, and the venerable Chinese calligrapher Gong Fagen also appear on screen. In particular, Wang traveled between London and China, establishing a dialogue with Julien from the preparatory stage and created poems that are featured as voice-overs in the film.

The brief storyline of Ten Thousand Waves has three layers. The first is a Chinese legend about the goddess Mazu, played by Maggie Cheung, who has a special power to guide shipwrecked sailors safely to shore. Here Julien transposes the goddess into contemporary China, where Mazu bends space and time, flying between the buzzing rush hour of Shanghai and a landscape with a calm bamboo forest and stony mountains. The second layer concerns the Morecambe Bay tragedy of 2004 in which over 20 Chinese illegal immigrant workers drowned while attempting to gather cockles. Unaware of the seasonal high tide, they were suddenly swept away to their deaths; even their guardian Mazu was unable to save them. The third layer is based on the specific situation of early 20th-century Shanghai, when the city was dominated by Western powers. During the 1930s, Shanghai flourished as a center of the film industry. The Goddess (1934), which was produced during this period, portrays the tragic life of a woman who had no choice but to prostitute herself in order to make a living to support her children. Julien remakes the film with Zhao Tao as its heroine to evoke the atmosphere of Shanghai in the 1930s. As these three layers interweave, Ten Thousand Waves crosses the boundaries of past and present, fiction and reality, feature film and documentary.

Ten Thousand Waves was produced by the LUMA Foundation.

The work was made with the kind support of the Udo and Anette Brandhorst Foundation; Helga de Alvear; Linda Pace Foundation and Almine Rech Gallery, Brussels.

 Supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Avec le concours du Centre National des Arts Plastiques (Image/Mouvement), Ministère de la culture et de la communication.

The artist would also like to thank Toby Devan Lewis, Candida Gertler (Outset), puma.creative and those who wish to remain anonymous for their kind support. Special thanks to Helga de Alvear, Victoria Miro, Roslyn Oxley and Almine Rech.

Jessica Jackson Hutchins
Oct. 28, 2011—March 4, 2012

Jessica Jackson Hutchins creates sculptures and collages from everyday objects, such as her family’s kitchen table and sofa, or favorite pieces of clothing and books. The rituals of daily use infuse her work with a measure of sentiment, history, birth and death—in short, the stuff of life. While all of Hutchins’ work foregrounds the hand and revels in the process of making, its characteristic imprecision is also carefully considered. Her ICA exhibition showcases several works on paper and a new, large-scale sculpture, Symposion (2011). This exhibition will be Hutchins’ first solo museum presentation.

Taking as its title the classical-era Greek word for drinking party, Symposion marries exuberant abstract form with a shabby sofa. Hand-built ceramic pots nestle among the crevices of a gargantuan black papier-mâché form, which haloes a peacock-blue couch. It is monstrous and sublime. The bulbous, curving form recalls imagery as varied as Henry Moore’s sculptures of reclining nudes to Greek pots decorated with drawings of revelers lounging drunkenly on chaises. Several works on paper will be included alongside Symposion. If symposions were places to deliver speeches, then these drawings offer another kind of text, a field of punctuation marks—commas, exclamation points, and question marks—rendered from lumpy paper pulp all of which offer the suggestion of narrative while withholding the plot.

About the ICA
An influential forum for multi-disciplinary arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art has been at the leading edge of art in Boston for 75 years. Like its iconic building on Boston's waterfront, the ICA offers new ways of engaging with the world around us. Its exhibitions and programs provide access to contemporary art, artists, and the creative process, inviting audiences of all ages and backgrounds to participate in the excitement of new art and ideas. The ICA, located at 100 Northern Avenue, is open Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 am - 5 pm; Thursday and Friday, 10 am - 9 pm; and Saturday and Sunday, 10 am - 5 pm. Admission is $15 adults, $10 seniors and students, and free for members and children 17 and under. ICA Free Admission for Youth is sponsored by State Street Foundation. The ICA is free each Thursday night, 5 - 9 pm and there is free admission for families at ICA Play Dates (2 adults + children 12 and under) on the last Saturday of the month. For more information, call 617-478-3100 or visit our website at


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