What’s the role of public security forces during civil protests? What does being “human” really mean? These are just a few of the questions that pop up in my mind while standing in front of a large picture of a police squad marching towards a group of colored protesters.
I consider myself a pretty well-informed person, but the pictures have a special energy, and they don’t permit judgement: they simply drag you into the depicted situation.
Who are we really?
Examining several forms of the public articulation of power and relative protest, the show presents three different but strongly connected groups of work: The G8 Summit, World of Warfare and Human Resources. Anti-globalization movements of the last decade, G8 and EU summits, arms fairs and other trade fairs are the background of Julian Röder’s depiction of human insanity. Despite the subjects, strongly social and political, the shots go behind a simple journalistic report: the artistic eye is indisputably aware of true aesthetic values, adding even more power to them.
Time has no meaning anymore. I just wonder from a picture to the other, completely absorbed and feeling more and more anger. Curiously most of the photos are printed on separate A4 formats and glued together directly on the gallery walls. It’s also interesting to note that no titles are visible. Actually Röder doesn’t need any words or explanations: his language gets right to the heart. All around the world everyday violence and injustice are present, all of the time; a name of a place or a date doesn’t change anything.
Lord with guns
Together with the riots and protester’s impressive moments, the artist presents a series of shots he did during the largest arms fair in the Middle East in Abu Dhabi.
Julian Röder no title, Series WORLD OF WARFARE, 2011
Military equipment of all kind is presented with the same frivolity of a fashion show, fat men admiring huge bombs, and guns are differentiated only by their country uniform, highlighting the importance of political boundaries today.
A bit cynical but true, in the last room the artist decided to show a real promotional video of a Chinese company, Beijing Anlong Tech & Trade Co, where all kinds of security equipment is presented with demonstrations of there efficiency.
A conceptual choice, a real example, it gives major strength and a coherent sense of unity to the whole show. Sentences like “it keeps society in peace” make me jump up from my chair. I just can’t stand it anymore… I push the heavy door and a cold wind brings me back to the present: welcome back to the fake world!
- Guardini Galerie, “In Gesellschaft des Marktes. Julian Röder”, December 6th – February 2nd 2012, Tuesday-Friday: 2pm-6.30pm