JULIKA RUDELIUS. Hail Mary Pass. 05.04.2019 – 11.05.2019 

Press Release
Exhibition Views

english / deutsch

After long stretches of time in New York and Germany, Julika Rudelius is back in Amsterdam, where the double channel video Knights (2019) was shot and she started work on the accompanying drawings exhibited in Hail Mary Pass – her 5th solo show at the Galerie Reinhard Hauff. The film – as well as the drawings – is a display of the ritualistic struggle for survival, influence and power common to animals, on the one hand, and humans on the other. The role of rites of passage initiating males into a group where competition for procreational favour from females, and thereby survival, is won by the strongest, most dominant and aggressive (the fittest), has in humans over time evolved from acting out of physical, brute strength, towards money-power and the capacity to adapt to change.

A group of young men, well-groomed with trendy hairdos, fashionable beards, dressed in black bomber jackets and grey hoodies, are driving black scooters with windshield screens. Their movements and facial expressions are choreographed cool, expressionless. Kept in a rather blackish, monochromatic retro-film colour scheme, the setting of the scooter get-together is a no-man’s land of empty lots of city architecture in geometric concrete and brick patterns, with stretches of waterfront roads – neither private, nor public. There is no visible interaction with the Other, the World. The young men move in unison – swarming – seemingly without plan or strategy, like soldiers on patrol, more or less one with their
scooters and in control of their engines. Formations converge, withdraw and regroup to the sound of roaring engines. But the aggressive parade periodically transforms into softer, synchronised dance movements – like a ballet performance. In between, they take breaks and hang out, fiddling with their mobile phones and other gadgets, and posing with their AirPods and designer bags. There is some prancing and display of bike acrobatic tricks, some speeding and loud engine noises, but no dialogue, no central leader of the pack, no plot, no interaction – a bunch of guys doing their own thing, alone together. The only woman here is the one behind the camera, watching this male "parade".

Among mammals, the parade and display of seductive features necessary to win the favours of the female during mating rituals include staged activities such as movements and sounds – not unlike what we are witnessing here. During his "parade", Man tries to project the ideal or typical male behaviours, and to give the impression that he is who he says he is. Lacan observed in one of his famous
Séminaires that Man cannot escape the tension between that which he thinks the Other – the woman or the social environment – expects of him (i.e. to be a Man, a Real Man, a Macho), and that which he (fears he) is in reality: weak, insecure, exposed. His Ego needs power – Higher Power – from belonging to, and status in, a group and a shared community. What roles do these young adults have within society, generally speaking, and within their group? In the absence of any narrative or dialogue, we can only observe this parade. At multiple distances (the gaze of a Female, German, in Amsterdam), we become spectators to the coded language of features required within that group for enough power to be a surviving male here and now.

To establish a parallel between the natural laws of the animal kingdom and the laws of civilized man, Rudelius expands on the video in the show with a group of drawings. Originally accompanied by a suggestive voice-over, these drawings are like thinly outlined, barely surfacing manifestations of the unconscious, the primitive, the forbidden and uncensored – the Id, perhaps. Lions in a pack aggressively fight for sexual dominance. Mating lions are contrasted with a human taboo – that of dominance for recreational, forbidden sex: Rudelius exposes the priest in his frock perverting the power of superior spiritual and moral status, masquerading as good and right, while forcing the young and weak to sadistic abuse. To be cast down. That these despicable practices go on for centuries testifies to the power of a perfect "masquerade".

The other gallery rooms provide for a fascinating review of the following seminal videos spanning 20 years of Rudelius’ creative output:
Rites of Passage, 2008, Forever, 2006, Dressage, 2009, Liaison, 2013, Adrift, 2007, Train, 2001. Together, they explore the theme of seduction and power.

Rudelius’ work has been shown in important museum contexts – such as the Tate Modern, London, the Centre Culturel Suisse, Paris, the Kunsthaus Glarus, Switzerland, the Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam, and the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem and recently at the Club Solo, Breda, The Netherlands (text: Elisabeth Hauff.)

You are cordially invited to the exhibition opening with beer and wine on Friday, April 5th, 2019 from 7 to 10 pm.