Julian Rosefeldt. American Night
Julian Rosefeldt (Munich 1965) is known to the international public for his grandiose multi-channel installations, elaborate mise-en-scènes that interweave the stereotyped behaviours of everyday life with filmic fiction, transforming reality into a comedy of the absurd.
The works of the artist, who is an architect by training, openly exploit theatrical figures as interpreters of the nonsense of the human condition. Everyday activities and compulsive behaviour are approached with the tools of deconstruction and surreal reconstruction, transforming actions linked to familiar normality into feats of unexpected absurdity.
Three works by the German artist will be presented in the spaces of EX3 within the exhibition curated by Lorenzo Giusti and Arabella Natalini: American Night (2009), Rosefeldt’s latest 5-channel production (presented in the Great Hall), which celebrates the western genre as a testimony to forgotten times, flanked by Stunned Man (2004) and Lonley Planet (2006) works in which the performers struggle to find balance and meaning in life.
American Night plays with the myth of the frontier and the idea of the free man who “solves his own problems”, as John Wayne once said. In this case, we are dealing with contemporary cowboys who defend the right to ‘do what they think is right’.
Cowboys gather in a campfire and discuss western film theory; a US Army helicopter lands in the middle of a deserted town and soldiers in full dress uniforms invade it, while puppets, who look like Barack Obama and George W. Bush, discuss the sense of going armed into a saloon.
On a more formal level, the installation quotes romantic landscape paintings that recall the works of Caspar Friedrich and break with the cliché of the rough and lonely man. Here, the cowboy is lost in thought, enchanted and disoriented at the same time by the boundless landscape that surrounds him. Finally, the work is – like other works by the artist – a homage to film construction that dismantles the mechanism of narration and filmic structure.
Julian Rosefeldt’s exhibition is realised in collaboration with the Kunst Museum in Bonn.
EX3 Centre for Contemporary Art, Florence30.10-24-12-2009
CatalogueThe Green Box
October 11, 2009