Chiu-Ti Jansen Discusses Isaac Julien's Ten Thousand Waves Show on View at the MoMA

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Chiu-Ti Jansen discusses British video artist Isaac Julien’s Ten Thousand Waves, on view at the Museum of Modern Art’s Marron Atrium, in her CHINESE ELEMENTS blog for Sotheby’s International.

(L-R) Chiu-Ti Jansen, Isaac Julien, Maggie Cheung and Martin Hartung at the MoMA opening reception. (Courtesy of the MoMA; Photo: Scott Rudd)

Ten Thousand Waves is also a metanarrative about a video artist’s self-referential, painstaking journey to understand contemporary China made up of incongruous elements.

CHINA HAPPENINGS™ is pleased to announce that its founder Chiu-Ti Jansen discusses British video artist Isaac Julien’s Ten Thousand Waves, on view at the Museum of Modern Art’s Marron Atrium (http://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/exhibitions/1417), in her CHINESE ELEMENTS blog for Sotheby’s International: http://www.sothebys.com/en/news-video/blogs/all-blogs/chinese-elements/2013/11/ten-thousand-waves-o.html.

The catalyst of Julien’s stunning visual investigation is a haunting replay of an emergency call from a witness of the 2004 Morecambe Bay tragedy that claimed the lives of 23 Chinese cockie pickers off the Northwest England shore. It then weaves in multiple story lines that include mighty white-robed Goddess Mazu (known in Southern China as fishermen’s guardian angel), played by Maggie Cheung, and Old Shanghai brought to live in a Shanghai film studio, where actress Zhao Tao reenacts The Goddess (1934), a classic Chinese silent film about a street walker who tried to afford her young son better education but ended up in jail after killing a gangster who stole her saved-up money. The video also includes Julien’s collaborations with several contemporary Chinese artists, such as calligrapher Gong Fagen, cinematographer/photographer Yang Fudong, poet Wang Ping and actor Benedict Wong.

For Ms. Jansen, Isaac Julien’s nine double-sided screen video installation Ten Thousand Waves (2010) is more than a dazzling parade of Chinese Elements--it invites the viewers to watch the spectacle from many different vantage points. Through a complex web of cross-references to ancient myths and precedent artworks, the desynchronized parallel stories illustrate how one may come to grips with the “violent speed of modernity” that is overtaking the contemporary China.

Chiu-Ti Jansen, Founder of the CHINA HAPPENINGS™ brand, who attended the opening night reception with the artist Isaac Julien and Hong Kong actress Maggie Cheung (playing Goddess Mazu in Julien’s work), commented: “Before the show opening I had the privilege of previewing the single screen version of the production, titled Better Life. Still, seeing the overhanging screens in their monumental dialogues is a thrilling experience.”

Ms. Jansen wrote: “Ten Thousand Waves is also a metanarrative about a video artist’s self-referential, painstaking journey to understand contemporary China made up of incongruous elements. Even though the postmodern viewers have seen many examples of self-referential ‘film within a film,’ Julien’s project is an exhilaratingly enriching experience because it illustrates the challenges and rewards of trying to tell the story of someone else, especially someone from a different culture and narrative tradition. ”

CHINA HAPPENINGS™
CHINA HAPPENINGS™ is a multimedia platform founded by Chiu-Ti Jansen that focuses on the lifestyle and cultural industries in contemporary China. Ms. Jansen is a TV presenter, a lifestyle magazine publisher and a writer based in New York City with a pulse on China. She hosts TV and video presentations on fashion and style for Phoenix TV, Phoenix Fashion and SINA Fashion, and writes a blog titled CHINESE ELEMENTS for international auction house Sotheby’s (http://www.sothebys.com/en/news-video/blogs/all-blogs/chinese-elements.html) and a fashion and style column titled NEW YORK IN STYLE for the Financial Times’ Chinese edition (http://www.ftchinese.com/column/007000053). Prior to founding CHINA HAPPENINGS, Ms. Jansen was a New York-based corporate partner of an international law firm. A native speaker and write of Mandarin Chinese, Ms. Jansen holds advanced degrees from Yale University and Columbia Law School and serves on the Contemporary Art Advisory Committee of China Institute in America and the Board of the Couture Council of Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).

PRESS CONTACTS: info(at)chinahappenings(dot)com

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