Max Wigram

Julian Rosefeldt 'The Ship of Fools'

21 Nov - 20 Dec 2008

Julian Rosefeldt 'The Ship of Fools 1' 2007, Lambda Print
120 x 210 cm
Max Wigram Gallery is proud to announce its third solo show by Berlin-based artist Julian Rosefeldt. The exhibition features Rosefeldt’s latest film The Ship of Fools (2007) on the first floor and two large photographs from the series of the same name on the second floor.
The Ship of Fools is a four channel film installation shot on 16mm film and transferred to DVD. The 7 minute 23 second loop captivates the viewer into four scenes of slowly unfolding imagery that reference symbols of German nationalism. The film was realised following an invitation to an exhibition (curated by Mark Gisbourne) at Schloss Sacrow in Potsdam, just outside Berlin, and was shot mostly on the grounds of the Baroque manor, purchased by Frederick William IV in 1840. Previously screened onto four free-standing projection blocks, adding a sculptural element to the work, here the film is displayed as a four screen projection, creating an intimate and immersive atmosphere. 
The Ship of Fools “grapples with the metamorphoses and continuity of German national sentiment from the Romantic era through National Socialism, from the former East Germany to the Neo-Nazis of today. Melancholy scenes reminiscent of Caspar David Friedrich slowly unfold, almost motionless, to the accompaniment of baying sheepdogs. It is both a brooding, sceptical epitaph on more than two hundred years of German sensitivities and a murky allegory of the perpetual repetition of the ever same, fated to stay in the same rut forever, which has its formal correspondence in the protagonist staring into the far distance, rooted in the spot, and the tableau’s agitated immobility” (Stephan Berg)
Well known for his epic multi-channel film installations, Julian Rosefeldt exploits overtly theatrical figures as nonsensical agents of the human condition. In works by the architect-trained artist characters inhabit elaborate mises-en-scénes, acting out the uncertain connection between the deliberate absurdity of the situations staged and the apathy of the events unfolding. Three of Rosefeldt’s major works (The Soundmaker, Stunned Man and The Perfectionist), collectively titled Trilogy of Failure (2004-06), are currently being shown together for the first time at the Royal Academy, London, as part of the exhibition Molten States (until December 4).

Rosefeldt (b. 1965, Munich) lives and works in Berlin. Forthcoming projects include a film commissioned by the Canary Islands Biennial and a solo show at Kunstmuseum Bonn (2009).
In 2008 he has had solo shows at Helga de Alvear (Madrid) and Arndt & Partner (Berlin). Previous solo shows include BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art (2004, Gateshead), Kunst-Werke (Berlin, 2004) and Hamburger Bahnhof (Berlin, 2002). Group shows this year include exhibitions at The Royal Academy and The Hayward Gallery (London), and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington DC).

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Tags: Stephan Berg, Julian Rosefeldt