Julian Charrière's major solo exhibition, Controlled Burn, will ocupy the entire Langen Foundation in Neuss, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.
Charrière's most extensive exhibition to date, Controlled Burn, features eight new commissions inspired by prominent themes from Charrière’s oeuvre. Charrière’s body of work explores ideas of nature and its transformation over a vast period of geological time, addressing urgent ecological concerns, often stemming from fieldwork at remote locations such as volcanoes, glaciers, palm oil plantations, radioactive sites, and the world's oceans.
The newly commissioned installation evokes the history of coal mining in North Rhine-Westphalia and the vast carboniferous forests that grew there 300 million years ago. Amid today’s entwined climate and energy crises, Controlled Burn interrogates the dark vitality of materials used for fuel: coal, petroleum, palm oil, and solar energy. The namesake of the exhibition is an important new video work, which invites the viewer to soar through an aerial landscape of imploding fireworks. Shot with a drone, this spectacular temporal voyage journeys from unfurling ferns and fluttering moths to rusting cooling towers, decommissioned oil rigs, and open pit mines. Spanning a vast cavern of deep time, Controlled Burn, 2022, arrives in the present as a dazzling celebration of biological adaption and technological obsolescence. Partly powered with solar energy harvested by a site-specific sculpture, the exhibition features installations that allude to the location’s prior use as a rocket storage facility. Taking us back in time, underground, and into future atmospheres and oceans saturated by the burnt residues of modernity’s excesses, Charrière’s speculative vision addresses the fossilized lives of past geological ages, the agency of plants in shaping planetary futures, and humankind’s fraught relationship to fire.
The exhibition is curated by Charrière’s long-time collaborators, philosopher Dehlia Hannah, art historian, and curator Nadim Samman.