After having seen it ourselves this afternoon, for those in and around Berlin, make sure to drop by the incredible KÖNIG GALERIE to witness German artist Julian Rosefeldt’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. On view in the nave of former Catholic church St. Agnes is his large video installation titled ‘In the Land of Drought’ that was filmed in Morocco and the Ruhr area.
A condensed version of Rosefeldt’s filmic interpretation of Joseph Haydn’s ‘The Creation’, ‘In the Land of Drought’ confronts the relationship between man and his impact on the world. Set to atmospheric sounds and a pulsating hum, the 43-minute piece looks back from an imagined future upon the post-Anthropocene: the aftermath of significant human influence on Earth. An army of scientists appear to investigate the archaeological remnants of civilization after humanity has made itself extinct. Shot entirely using a drone, Rosefeldt’s images hover meditatively over the desolate landscape and ruins. Connoting surveillance, the drone’s bird’s eye view removes human perspective with us onlookers kept at a distance throughout. Increasingly, more figures dressed in white lab suits emerge to inspect the ruins of civilization – which are in fact abandoned film sets close to the Moroccan Atlas Mountains.
Halfway through, the audience is transported to the comparably bleak Ruhr area of Germany, which is littered with the remains of industrialization. The same ‘scientists’ prowl the abandoned mining region, wandering among the headframes and coal pits before finally descending upon an amphitheatre. As seen from the audience’s heavenly outlook, the amphitheatre resembles an eye, and its all-seeing ability is reflective of the panoptic aerial viewpoint. A dialogue unfolds between the two perspectives of control: the eye on the ground and the drone’s eye overhead. As the steady hum livens to a climatic rhythm, the figures draw close only to disperse again. Reminiscent of cell division, the unifying aesthetics hint at a prospective optimism amidst a dislocated world man has created. The result is both mesmerizing and though-provoking, make sure to witness it first hand before it closes on the 23th of July!
Works by Berlin-based German artist Julian Rosefeldt are represented in major public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Nationalgalerie Berlin, Berlinische Galerie, Goetz Collection, and the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney. Recent solo exhibitions have been presented at the École des Beaux Arts de Paris (2017), Nikolaj Kunsthal, Copenhagen (2017); Villa Stuck, Munich (2017); Park Avenue Armory, New York (2016); and Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2016). Concurrently with Rosefeldt’s exhibition at KÖNIG GALERIE, his films are featured in the exhibition ‘Luther and the Avant-garde’ in Wittenberg and, at Kunsthalle Helsinki. Next to his work Rosefeldt is also involved with teaching: in 2009 he took on a Guest Professorship at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Faculty of Media Art. Since 2010 he’s a Member of the Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste, Department of Film and Media Art, Munich. In the next year he also took on the Professorship for Digital and Time-based Media at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Munich.
The KÖNIG GALERIE is located at Alexandrinenstraße 118 in Berlin. Opened Tuesday through Sunday from 11:00 until 18:00.
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For more work by Julian Rosefeldt see here