The artistic career of Isaac Julien, the son of Caribbean émigrés, is characterised by its endorsement of Black history and culture and that of freedom of sexual orientation. As early as 1984 he had founded the Sankofa Film and Video Collective together with other Black students of Fine Arts and Communication, and produced Territories—his graduation film at the prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design—and in 1989, Looking for Langston—a film essay on Langston Hughes, one of the most outstanding Afro-American poets and a member of the Harlem Renaissance, won Julien international recognition.

Julien was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2001 for his works The Long Road to Mazatlán (1999) and Vagabondia (2000), and has received wide acclaim for works including Western Union (Small Boats) (2007), Fantôme Afrique (2005), True North (2004), Baltimore (2003) and Paradise Omeros (2002). In 2008 Julien collaborated with Tilda Swinton on a biopic about Derek Jarman which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival the same year. In recent years, Julien has had solo exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago (2013), Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (2012), Nasjonalmuseet, Oslo (2012), Bass Museum, Miami, Florida (2010), Museum Brandhorst, Munich (2009), Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea - Museu do Chiado, Lisbon, Portugal (2008) Kestnergesellschaft, Hanover (2006), Centre Pompidou, Paris (2005), and MoCA, North Miami (2005). His 2010 installation Ten Thousand Waves has been on display in over fifteen international cities so far, including Shanghai, Sydney, Madrid, Helsinki, São Paolo, Gwangju, Moscow, Miami, London and most recently at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in the Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium. His latest work PLAYTIME, has been exhibited as a single-screen installation at Metro Pictures, New York and as a seven-screen installation at Victoria Miro Gallery, London. A single-screen presentation will take place at BLUE FOUNDATION as part of LOOP in Barcelona, and a specially commissioned multi-screen installation of PLAYTIME will be presented at Helga de Alvear Gallery as part of ARCO Feb 2015 as the second instalment of PLAYTIME (PART 2).

Julien is represented in museums and private collections throughout the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Tate, the UK Government Art Collection, Centre Pompidou, the Guggenheim Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum and the Brandhorst Museum. His 9-screen acclaimed work Ten Thousand Waves recently showed at MoMA as part of it's collection last year after being shown in 16 different countries.
ECLIPSE (Playtime)THE ABYSS (Playtime)ALL THAT'S SOLID MELTS INTO AIR (Playtime)Ten Thousand Waves Ten Thousand Waves, 2010. 9 channel video-installation. 49 min 41 seg [Ref# 40552]Ten Thousand Waves Series (Blue Godess) Ten Thousand Waves Series (Blue Godess), 2010. Endura print. 180 x 270 cm [Ref# 40561]Ten Thousand Waves Series (Shadows) Ten Thousand Waves Series (Shadows), 2010. Endura print. 180 x 240 cm [Ref# 40560]Ten Thousand Waves Series (Yishan Island, Dreaming) Ten Thousand Waves Series (Yishan Island, Dreaming), 2010. Endura print. 180 x 240 cm [Ref# 40558]Ten Thousand Waves Series (Green Screen Godess) Ten Thousand Waves Series (Green Screen Godess), 2010. Triptych: endura print. 180 x 240 cm each [Ref# 40540]Ten Thousand Waves Series (Glass House) Ten Thousand Waves Series (Glass House), 2010. Endura print. 180 x 240 cm [Ref# 40538]Ten Thousand Waves Series (Midnight) Ten Thousand Waves Series (Midnight), 2010. Endura print. 180 x 240 cm [Ref# 40507]Western Union Series # 5 Western Union Series # 5, 2007. Lightbox. 120 x 244 cm [Ref# 39573]Western Union Series # 12 (Balustrade) Western Union Series # 12 (Balustrade), 2007. Lightbox. 120 x 120 cm [Ref# 40140]Baltimore Series (Colin, Still Life) Baltimore Series (Colin, Still Life), 2003, Diptych: c-print. 200 x 100 cm [100 x 100 cm each] [Ref# 38007]Photo: Graeme Robertson