Rolf Julius. Music for the eyes

12 Dec 2015 — 6 Feb 2016 at Galerie Thomas Bernard in Paris, France

17 DECEMBER 2015
Rolf Julius setting up the exhibition Noiseless at the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto in 2007. Credits : Maija Julius
Rolf Julius setting up the exhibition Noiseless at the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto in 2007. Credits : Maija Julius

From the 12th of December, 2015, until the 6th of February, 2016, the gallery Thomas Bernard - Cortex Athletico presents an exhibition of historical works by the German artist Rolf Julius, a major figure of Sound Art, deceased in 2011. Entitled Music for the Eyes, the exhibition assembles sonorous sculptures, prints on Korean paper and drawings. On this occasion, the gallery makes available for free consultation the archives of the artist, comprising all his exhibition catalogues, CDs and vinyls.

Rolf Julius was born in 1939 in northern Germany, where he received classical training in the fine arts. In the late 1970s, he gradually discovered certain contemporary composers (in particular John Cage and Terry Riley at festivals and on the radio), and became increasingly involved in acoustic performances which he gave in public parks and at alternative venues. In the early 1980s, Rolf Julius was thus already laying the foundations for a body of work in which acoustic space - sound - would have priority. In various experimental ways he explored the possibilities offered by sound broadcasting techniques, but even at this early stage (and this would be a constant factor in his approach) the works were developing with an on-going concern for the relationship with the space of the world, and with nature.

The years 1983-1984 marked a significant moment in Rolf Julius’ life. He went to live in New York, where he resides at PS1. He meets there most of the important artists and composers involved with the experimental avant-garde, in particular John Cage and Merce Cunningham, but Takehisa Kosugi, too, who would henceforth be a veritable master for him. Julius’ work, very present in Germany and in Japan, was shown for the first time in France in 1980, in Paris (Music for the Eyes, l’ARC, City of Paris Museum of Modern Art), then at the La Criée Art Centre in Rennes (1988), then the artist was regularly exhibited in Frac Bourgogne, Frac Limousin, Galerie Lara Vincy (Paris) and at numerous contemporary music festivals.

Among his noteworthy exhibitions: Lautlos, Rolf Julius & Nina Canell, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2012), Under the Surface, galerie Thomas Bernard - Cortex Athletico, Bordeaux (2010), Grau schweigt, Museum Bochum, Bochum (2006), écoute, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2004), Red - or How Loud Is Black, Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel (2001), Biennale d’Istanbul (1995), Documenta 8, Kassel (1987) and several participations at the Triennale of Echigo Tsumari. His works are in numerous international and French public collections. Rolf Julius’ Large Wall Drawing (2010) is at the moment exhibited at the Centre Pompidou, in the collection of the 4th floor.