30.05. – 22.06.06
Julian Rosefeldt
“Lonely Planet”
Solo exhibition at Arndt & Partner, Berlin

Julian Rosefeldt's films possess a complex visual quality. The viewer is immersed in lavishly staged sets, which are projected in cinematographic style onto several canvases. Caught in a continuous loop, his protagonists move in heavy rhythms, matched by the action of the camera gliding slowly forwards and backwards. Rosefeldt treats everyday rituals and clichés analytically and ironically, subverting them by shifting the action into the absurd.
Shown in Berlin for the first time is the third part of the "Trilogie des Scheiterns" (Trilogy of Failure) - a series of films which deals with people's futile striving towards control. "The Perfectionist" shows on the left hand canvas a man caught up in a perpetual inspection of his parachute. Instead of stepping out and flying, this cross-checking becomes an obsessive act: the parachutist has become Sisyphus. Parallel to this on the right hand canvas, the same actor can be seen, as he simulates the parachute drop at home on his ironing board. The ridiculousness of the heavy man on the fragile domestic appliance is underlined by a fog machine being switched on, which all of a sudden can't be turned off. Thereupon an aircraft turbine rushes into the room - while on the left hand canvas a storm starts to blow, which welds the man to his inflated parachute.
The central picture of the installation meanwhile remains quiet: in a cockpit a pilot flicks a multitude of switches with a practised hand, without however any discernible result. Rosefeldt underscores the absurdity of automatic processes and compulsive behaviour: The dream of flight flounders on the emptiness of ritual. Sisyphus becomes Icarus. The artist's most recent work "Lonely Planet", uses the figure of an ambitious backpacker on a trip through India, played by the artist himself, in order to challenge the way that images and clichés are formed. His journey takes him from romanticised motifs to the slums of Bombay. Here the scene suddenly shifts from a fictitious narrative to the reality of filmic scenesetting: the tourist emerges as a performer amongst cameras and spotlights - the dirty metropolis gives way to the artificial and illusory atmosphere on the set. A putatively authentic India reverts to the realm of Bollywood, culminating in a musical interface from the film. Finally on this meta-level the current Indian clichés of chaos, kitsch and call-centres dissolve into a surreal choreography.
The installation was commissioned by the Bonn Biennial and was realised as a co-production between Arndt & Partner Berlin/Zurich, Max Wigram, London, the Goethe-Institute New Delhi and Festival Lille 3000. Postproduction of the exhibited works was generously supported by werk novalisstrasse, Berlin. We also wish to especially thank Thomas Olbricht Collection which co-financed the production of "The Perfecionist" and Rumi Verjee for his support.

Julian Rosefeldt, born in 1965 in Munich, lives and works in Berlin. He has had solo shows in famous institutions such as Kunst-Werke Berlin (2004) and Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2002) and has taken part in numerous group shows, including the 26th São Paolo Biennale (2004), the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2002), Kunsthalle Basel (2000) and PS.1, New York (1998). "The Soundmaker", the first part of the Trilogy of failure will be presented from 1 June to 16 July 2006 at the Akademie der Künste, Berlin as part of the festival "sonambiente".

Text: Gesine Borcherdt