Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.

Julian Rosefeldt – In the Land of Drought

Jul 04, 2017 - Felicia Honkasalo

Julian Rosefeldt

IN THE LAND OF DROUGHT

KÖNIG GALERIE 24.06.17-23.07.17

 

With the second post I would like to continue sharing the work of artists who have investigated and commented on the relationship between man and nature and the impact our culture has on our environment.  I have long admired the cinematic video works of Julian Rosefeldt. Seeing the large scale video installation In the Land of Drought, which is his first solo show at König Gallery in Berlin is a mesmerizing experience. Here is a more detailed account of the work itself, taken from the press release of König Gallery.

“A condensed version of Rosefeldt’s filmic interpretation of Joseph Haydn’s “The Creation”, “In the Land of Drought” (2015/2017) 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.”