Sean Kelly is pleased to present Towards No Earthly Pole, Julian Charrière’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. Recognized as one of the most innovative and prominent artists of his generation, Charrière is renowned for a complex discipline that links artistic and scientific inquiry, coalescing ecology, geology, archaeology, physics, historical inquiry, and nomadic exploration. Centered around the US premiere of Charrière’s video work of the same name, the exhibition continues Charrière’s exploration into how human civilization and the natural landscape are inextricably linked. There will be an opening reception on Thursday, January 30, from 6-8pm. The artist will be present.
Charrière conceived the film, Towards No Earthly Pole, while aboard a Russian research ship for the first Antarctic Biennale. 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 and 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. Towards No Earthly Pole offers a unique vision of polar landscapes, inviting a unique consideration of their mythos, delicate ecology, and fraught geopolitical condition.
Exhibited in conjunction with the film will be 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 will be 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. Society has regarded fossil fuels as limitless, however, the exhaustion of these resources and the consequences of their destructive forces becomes inevitable. Charrière’s fountain combines these themes to stress the coexistence of both elements and forces. Throughout the exhibition, in direct and complex ways, Charrière juxtaposes fire and ice, harnessing their oppositional nature to symbolize change and transformation.
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.