Friday, 12 April 2024, 24:00 | midnight

#140: Julika Rudelius

Julika Rudelius approaches themes of gender, power, interpersonal relations and the vulnerabilities that arise in a human need for belonging within late capitalism. Her chosen medium in a manner akin to a writer: making art is a means for engaging and illuminating problems that she encounters in everyday life. Through the creation of scenarios that blur documentary and fiction, she interweaves documentary film, cinematic language and video installation techniques with pop cultural phenomena at the fringes of history. The results are contemplative and, in turns, moving, disturbing and humorous—judgment, in her work, is a communal process. Her situated practice brings a great degree of complexity to the kind of assumptions that accompany reductionism and generalization, allowing viewers to experience problems of narration that give rise to racism, sexism and classism in contemporary culture.

Julika Rudelius will show:

Economic Primacy (2005), 17:56 min
For her work Economic Primacy Rudelius selected five men: a lawyer, a spin doctor, a media advisor, a millionaire and a senior executive. They are filmed pacing around in a generic office space that was specially constructed for the video. While they appear talking to themselves, they are in fact responding to questions the artist is asking them over a hands-free phone. In their “monologues”, they talk about the importance and omnipotence of money.

The highest point (2002) , 12:40 min
Julika Rudelius placed newspaper ads inviting women to speak openly about their sexuality. Over 30 women responded. Many of them expressed a desire to create a different image of sexuality than the one that’s found in the current media. The women were interviewed in a place that evokes both a private house and a consulting room. They describe their sex lives using dry technical language while demonstrating the positions they would generally use. 

Forever (2006), 16:40 min
Forever focuses on five US American women which were chosen because of their age and their beauty. The women pose by upscale private swimming pools and contemplate their ideas of beauty, ways to obtain it and its relationship with privilege. The women are shown responding to questions about intangible ideas, such as what it means to be happy and/or beautiful, but the audience does not hear these questions. The video is punctuated by the women taking self-portraits with a Polaroid camera.

Layers of Sentiment (2023), 10:00 min
The two-channel video Layers of Sentiment, premiered at Villa Merkel in 2023. The work features a significant step into script-writing by the artist. Three scenes, performed by actors, involve different facets of everyday, feminine power struggles––women ambivalently caught up in varying degrees of success and compromise even on their own terms. The camera work focuses on the materiality of objects, surfaces, the architecture of spaces and how they channel physical behaviors. Set against this are the roles of the women: a privileged, new mother looks forward to experiences in a lifestyle seemingly devoid of conviviality; a political artist chooses to compromise her values to exhibit her work; and an influencer, often disappointed by her online presence, barely acknowledges the real world that makes her efforts possible.

One of us (2010), 28:44 min (excerpt 12:00 min)
By staging romantic scenes between real-life lovers, One of Us conjures up the ideal of the happy couple like a hologram that the artist herself steps through, interrupting the illusion of intimacy by inserting herself in the image. The pairs clearly draw their sense of self from their relationship, practicing a form of “individualism for two”. The words exchanged between the lover’s echo phrases from pop culture’s ubiquitous representations of love and happiness. And yet these are their own genuine feelings, which are unexpectedly distilled by the maker’s many interventions. She watches and touches the lovers in their most tender moments and is met with complete indifference as they remain totally absorbed in each other.

Is it true because I feel it (2021), 17:26 min 
The body – house of our emotions. The setting – a dark, immersive space without visible doors, roof, walls. The players – anonymous men and women of various ages dressed in eco-friendly leisure wear. The participants are brought together by a common search for connection and intimacy as a teachable discipline, a course in basic self-optimizing. Search, find and heal through spiritual guided tours by yoga or mindfulness instructors.
These are trending activities of those of us who can afford optimizing the privileges we already have. Teachers in personal development, spirituality, health, sustainability, and social activism preach and practice weaving mindful movement and contemplation into our daily lives.
Ad-hoc couples in face-to-face, safe encounters, exposing mutual vulnerabilities, and exploring soothing, non-intrusive touching as healing. Surface contact. Let it all out. Try an eruptive outpouring of stranger-directed intimacy although we’re actually only in excessive interaction with ourselves. “Display Intimacy” as a substitute for real intimacy? We’re here to work on our pain. Let’s train intimacy in the times of hyper individualism.

Originally from Cologne (DE, 1968), Julika Rudelius studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy (1994-1998) and subsequently attended the Rijksakademie (1999-2001). Her work has been featured in numerous international exhibitions and institutions, such as Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; ZKM, Karlsruhe; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Gallery Leo Koenig in New York, Tate Modern, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; MOCA, North Miami, Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, the Swiss Institute of Contemporary Art, New York and most recently in a large solo exhibition at Villa Merkel, Esslingen. 

Rudelius held various international teaching positions and currently has a professorship for time-based media at Hochschule für Künste, Bremen, Germany.