Julian Charrière, Drain the Swamp, 2022
Julian Charrière / Controlled Burn
Sep 4 – Aug 6, 2023
Langen Foundation
Neuss, Germany

Julian Charrière’s solo exhibition Controlled Burn will occupy the whole of the Tadao Ando designed Langen Foundation in Neuss, North Rhine-Westphalia. Featuring new commissions set within a constellation of major works from Charrière’s oeuvre, Controlled Burn represents one of the most extensive exhibition of the artist.

Julian Charrière is a French-Swiss artist based in Berlin. Charrière’s work explores ideas of nature and its transformation over deep geological time. His work addresses urgent ecological concerns, often stemming from fieldwork at signal locations such as volcanoes, glaciers, oil palm plantations, undersea and radioactive sites.

Europe faces an unprecedented energy crisis, in which environmental goals collide with urgent political priorities. As Europe begins to restart coal-fired power plants and nuclear reactors, Controlled Burn confronts our alienation from the materials, processes, and infrastructures that make the continuous flow of energy possible. In this exhibition, fires that usually burn out of sight – underground, beyond the city limits, in distant pasts, and warming futures – are brought to light.

Julian Charrière’s work addresses urgent ecological concerns, often stemming from fieldwork at signal locations such as volcanoes, glaciers, undersea, and radioactive zones. Deepening his reflections upon ideas of nature and our place therein, Controlled Burn interrogates the dark vitality of materials used for fuel: coal, petroleum, palm oil, sunshine, and more. Charrière’s speculative visions range over the fossilized life-worlds of past geological ages, as well as atmospheres saturated with the burnt residues of modernity’s excess. Controlled Burn questions humankind’s fraught grip on fire and the agency of plants in shaping planetary futures.

Powered by solar energy harvested by the site-specific ensemble Drain the Swamp (2022), located directly in front of the museum, the exhibition takes place throughout the Langen Foundation building and surroundings. Controlled Burn debuts a suite of ambitious commissioned artworks, set within a constellation of key pieces from Charrière’s oeuvre.

Curated by Dehlia Hannah & Nadim Samman

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