london

Julian Rosefeldt

Max Wigram Gallery

Julian Rosefeldt’s four-screen installation (Super 16-mm film transferred to DVD) The Ship of Fools, 2007, at first seems a kind of study in art history or visual culture. It features a stock of unmistakable European Romantic motifs, references to landscape painting that double as stereotypical cinematic mise-en-scènes (a moonlit forest at night, early morning mist rising off a lake, and so on), and symbols signposting German political history. However, what initially looks vaguely sociological ends up reading as more broadly structural and philosophical—an excavation of existential preoccupations.

Projected side by side, the four looped sequences start and end simultaneously. On the left, a forest (shown by production stills in another room to be a single old oak ringed by wooden fencing, while the moon is shown to be a colossal lighting rig) is overrun by a pack of German shepherds, whose

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