Julian Rosefeldt is one of the most interesting and visually most powerful artists at the interface between narrative film and complex film installation. Since the end of the 90s, his internationally successful, suggestive picture world has been relating to the (cinematographic) play with illusion and reality and a life endlessly repeating itself.
This is particularly true of his Trilogy of Failure (2002/ 05), this brilliant filmic trilogy on the hopeless entanglements of man in his everyday rituals. The Kunstmuseum Bonn
is showing the first part of this trilogy. The Soundmaker (2004) confronts us with a protagonist, who, being trapped in endless repetition, piles all the furnishings in his room into his own personal Tower of Babel, only to dismantle it shortly afterwards and return the room to its original state.
The film Lonely Planet (2006) modifies this circular narrative structure which plays with the construction and deconstruction of cinematic myths, by having a backpacker (played by Rosefeldt himself) emerge from the desert, then cross a river by boat to reach a town on the other side, where he finds himself in a crowded cinema and experiences his arrival in town as a film. However, the cinema itself turns out to be a film set from which the backpacker finally manages to escape and disappears again into the depths of the desert.
On yet another level, almost all of Julian Rosefeldts works from the past seven years deal with the idea of the tableau vivant and its mobile immobility. A good example is Ship of Fools (2007) filmed on the grounds of the baroque manor Schloss Sacrow that grapples with the metamorphosis and continuity of German national sentiment from the Romantic era through National Socialism, from the former East Germany to the neo-Nazis of today.
In his visually overwhelming 5-channel film installation American Night (2009), produced in cooperation with the Kunstmuseum Bonn, Rosefeldt reflects the genre of the Western with special regard to its central themes, such as the campfire, village street, saloon, waiting woman etc., and at the same time he unmasks the filmic logic of scenes by offering a glimpse behind the scenes on the film set and into the production process. However, American Night is basically a sarcastically trenchant reckoning with America`s hegemonic policy under its former President George W. Bush. In a campfire talk between five cowboys, consisting only of quotations from films, song texts and statements by politicians, the countrys foundation myth about the American concept of freedom that is reflected in Westerns breaks up into a litany of hollow phrases.