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Shapes and Voids: “Towards No Earthly Pole” by Julian Charrière

Shapes and Voids: “Towards No Earthly Pole” by Julian Charrière

Installation view of Julian Charrière: Towards No Earthly Pole at Sean Kelly, New York
 January 31 – March 21, 2020
 Photography: Jason Wyche, New York
 Courtesy: Sean Kelly, New York

Fire and ice, human and landscape, shapes and voids, the Swiss Artist Julian Charrière explores the subtleties in-between dialectics in his solo exhibition “Towards No Earthly Pole” at Sean Kelly in New York. The artist came up with the idea for the exhibition during his stay on a Russian research ship during the first Antarctic Biennale. These impressions are transformed into a film portraying delicate and yet powerful polar scenes as well as into sculptures that explore the movement of matter. These dramatic and yet reflective gestures highlight how landscape, as seen from the vista of art, can bring to light new perspectives, possibilities, and futures, both going beyond disciplinary lines and dialoguing their strengthens and weaknesses. Charrière creates this conversation without using words: it is a question of a difference in tone, be it subtle or grandiose, and this exhibition seems to delve into both, bringing them together through what is felt, seen, and experienced. Below is a description of the exhibition, which is on view until March 21, 2020.

Installation view of Julian Charrière: Towards No Earthly Pole at Sean Kelly, New York
 January 31 – March 21, 2020
 Photography: Jason Wyche, New York
 Courtesy: Sean Kelly, New York

“Towards No Earthly Pole” is centered around the US premiere of the artist’s video work of the same name. The exhibition continues Charrière’s exploration into how human civilization and the natural landscape are inextricably linked. The powerful impression made on him by the Antarctic landscape and his readings of accounts of early 20th-century exploration led him to focus on Iceland, Greenland, the Rhône, Aletsch glaciers, and Mont Blanc in France. This meditative 102-minute film, the result of a series of expeditions made between 2017-2019, combines footage taken from each of the locations. Filmed at night, the dazzling landscapes Charrière captured are dramatically lit by a spotlight carried on a drone; as light tracks across the dark terrain, incredible shapes and tonalities of an almost otherworldly nature are revealed. The exhibition offers a unique vision of polar landscapes, inviting a unique consideration of their mythos, delicate ecology, and fraught geopolitical condition.

Julian-Charrière, Not All Who Wander Are Lost, 2019, Installation-view, Towards No Earthly-Pole, 2019, MASI Lugano, Lugano, Switzerland (copyright the artist VG Bild Kunst, Bonn, Germany) Ph. Jens Ziehe

Exhibited in conjunction with the film are four sculptures titled “Not All Who Wander Are Lost,” 2019. A series of perforated boulders, which rest atop beds of core samples that were drilled and removed from each mass, reflect on the movement of matter. They were inspired by a geological paradox Charrière encountered on several occasions during his travels. Referred to as “erratics,” these large boulders, found in the middle of otherwise empty fields, differ in size and type from the rocks native to the surrounding area. An enigma to previous civilizations, scientific study has revealed that these peculiar objects are deposits left behind by glacial ice as it glided across vast distances. In addition to these sculptures and a suite of related photographs in the front gallery, Charrière’s film “And Beneath It All Flows Liquid Fire,” 2019 is on view in the lower gallery. Filmed in Lugano, Switzerland, the video shows the Antonio Bossi Fountain in the Piazza Riziero Rezzonico at night, spewing fire to create a sense of ambiguity.

Installation view of Julian Charrière: Towards No Earthly Pole at Sean Kelly, New York
 January 31 – March 21, 2020
 Photography: Jason Wyche, New York
 Courtesy: Sean Kelly, New York

Born in Morges, Switzerland in 1987, Charrière currently lives and works in Berlin. A participant of the Institut für Raumexperimente (Institute for Spatial Experiments), Charrière has exhibited his work – both individually and as a part of the Berlin-based art collective Das Numen – at museums and institutions worldwide, including MAMbo- Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, Italy; MASI Lugano, Switzerland; the Parasol Unit Foundation for Art, London; the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne, Switzerland; the Centre Culturel Suisse, Paris; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; Thyssen-Bornemizsa Art Contemporary, Vienna; the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin; the Reykjavik Art Museum, Iceland; the K11 Foundation, Shanghai; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo amongst others. His work has been featured in the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India; the 12th Biennale de Lyon, France; the 13th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice; the 57th Venice Biennale, Venice; the inaugural Toronto Biennial of Art, Canada; and the 14 Bienal de Artes Mediales de Santiago, Chile. In 2013 and 2015, Charrière was awarded the Kiefer Hablitzel Award / Swiss Art Award and in 2018, was the recipient of the GASAG Art Prize.

Installation view of Julian Charrière: Towards No Earthly Pole at Sean Kelly, New York January 31 – March 21, 2020 Photography: Jason Wyche, New York Courtesy: Sean Kelly, New York

Dates: January 31 – March 21, 2020 / LOCATION: Sean Kelly, 475 10th Avenue New York, NY 10018 / TEXT: Introduction by NESS, Text adapted from the press release by NESS

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