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.
Works by 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