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Good Weather Marlborough Contemporary, New York, 2017

https://juliusvonbismarck.com/bank/files/gimgs/th-53_von Bismack_Lightning Rockets_2017_9_rockets_aluminum_carbon fiber_kevlar and silver_dimensions variable_CNON_59_075.jpg

Installation view ‘Good Weather’, Marlborough Contemporary, New York, 2017 | rockets used to trigger lightning

Emerging from his trips to Colombia, Venezuela and Mexico, Julius von Bismarck's solo exhibition ‘Good Weather’ at Marlborough Contemporary New York, continues the artist’s exploration of the intersection of human beings and the relentless forces of nature. The featured sculptures, photographs and video investigate the territory between our Victorian inclination towards a taming taxonomy and a cruel and chaotic reality. The exhibition as a whole acts as a highly distilled and museologically ordered document of extreme power and violence.

Situating the jungle as both a potent symbol of Western fear and a romanticised rainforest ecosystem, von Bismarck creates a visceral tension for his audience. The video entitled Talking to Thunder depicts the artist’s attempts at taming a bolt of lightning. By firing an aluminium rocket (equipped with a grounding wire of braided Kevlar, copper and silver) into a raging storm, he was able to complete a circuit of tremendous power between the sky and the ground. The result, captured on video and in still photographs, appears to literally straighten the lightning bolt in its path to the ground. The rockets, eventually designed and showcased as sculptures, now appear like lightning-struck relics, loaded with the history of this communion.

By collecting and pressing various plant and animal species von Bismarck brutally reenacts scientific ventures integral to the expansion of past colonial empires. Rather than pressing tiny flowers in a notebook, the artist pressed large plants and entire palm trees into flattened specimens. Heated to a precise 250 degrees in an enormous custom-built oven and a 50-ton hydraulic press, the plants are completely dehydrated without losing their verdant coloration, and squashed astonishingly flat. They are then backed with thin stainless steel to maintain their shape for presentation.


Installation view ‘Good Weather’, Marlborough Contemporary, New York, 2017


Installation view ‘Good Weather’, Marlborough Contemporary, New York, 2017


I like the flowers (Ravenela Madagascariensis) | pressed and dried plants, mounted on stainless steel plates, 151 x 122 cm


Installation view ‘Good Weather’, Marlborough Contemporary, New York, 2017

https://juliusvonbismarck.com/bank/files/gimgs/th-53_Screenshot 2021-12-16 at 12_23_19.jpg

Talking to Thunder, 2017 (video still)