1 Roland Fuhrmann » 2009 Hamish Morrison Galerie, Berlin: Im Büro

Hamish Morrison Galerie, Berlin:
Text to the solo show ‚Im Büro‘

June 19 – August 1st 2009

Gallery text as PDF


„Roland Fuhrmann studied sculpture and metal in Halle and in Paris with Christian Boltanski. He graduated in 1997.
In his very diverse work Ronald Fuhrmann outlines (German) history as well as current social-political themes. His work is often critical and documentary. Furhmann’s artistic spectrum includes photography, video and installation. Special technical features often characterise his work. In the series ‚Fest der Schönheit/Festival of beauty‘ images of the former Olympic village in Wustermark from the Olympic games 1936 in Berlin are visible only if the viewer turns the crank. The apparent decay of the Olympic village documents traces of the various occupants of this historic place: athletes, German Wehrmacht, Red Army… Rotating the crank the viewer is drawn back into history and the flickering images bring back memories of Leni Rifenstahl’s Olympic propaganda movie ‚Fest der Schönheit‘.
The series of prints named ‚Treetop castles, Part 1‘ show so-called ‚Palombières‘ in the woods of Aquitaine, France, that resemble ‚Merzbauten‘ from Kurt Schwitters or nests from an unknown species. The 25 meter high lodgings are furnished with kitchens and lounges for up to 10 people, some of them even have toilets and elevators. For one month per year – during the culver hunt – the tree houses are inhabited. The rest of the year they serve as weekend homes for the hunters. This phenomenon is comparable with German ‚Schrebergärten‘- small gardens that city dwellers use on weekends. The difference is that in nature the creativity of the constructors is not limited by any rules such as licences or static. The „Palombières“ are monuments of archaic architecture.
The two photographs titled ‚Palombière Laffargue‘ show the almost luxurious inside of the tree houses as well as the stunning view outside. The incidence of light and the direct view on tree branches suggest the altitude of these provisional homes. The surrounding trees have been trimmed to a so called ‚carpet‘ – a ‚Trompe l’œile‘ masterwork of gardening.
In the video ‚Die Missglückte Jugendzeit/ The unhappy youth‘ the artist documents his own ancestors´ past. A gramophone needle touches the record and a melancholic trumpet starts to play. Family pictures from the 30´s appear. The laughter of a woman interrupts the melody – the trumpet player joins in and the laughter becomes more and more disturbing until it reaches an apocalyptic state of ‚having nothing to lose‘. The frenzy of the Third Reich starts to creep into the images of the lives of a middle class family in the 30´s. The last picture shows a man in uniform on his last furlough before he leaves to Stalingrad – from where he never returns. The laughter becomes metallic and as the record ends it continues its silent circles. Roland Fuhrmann’s grandfather took these photos and destroyed them after the war. The artist used the negatives as well as a record from his grandfather’s collection – which gave the work its title.
The second video ‚Blackout‘ features Berlin’s most popular tourist site, the Brandenburger Tor. The Gate is always illuminated and shines like plastic. But what happens, when the lights go out and the monument is wrapped in darkness? Then far away voices appear and for a moment the eventful past of this historic place comes to live.“ Hamish Morrison Galerie