WILD: Fabricating a Frontier

Image credit: Julian Rosefeldt, American Night, 2009 ©️ The artist and VG Bild-Kunst, 2017

WHEN: Thursday, July 13 until Saturday, August 26

Gallery hours:

Tues thru Fri 12-6 p.m.

Sat 12 – 4 p.m.

WHERE: Illingworth Kerr Gallery, ACAD

The five-channel film installation American Night (2009) reflects upon the Western film genre by combining ‘the myth of the frontier’ with allusions to today’s hegemonic foreign policy in the USA. Titled after a technique that allows the shooting of night scenes during the day, and François Truffaut’s La Nuit Américaine (1973), the film features fundamental motifs of the Western in its characteristically opulent, extended total shots and its celebration of a sublime nature: the deserted town's main street, the saloon, the waiting woman, etc.

As he does frequently in his works, Julian Rosefeldt reveals the myth machinery of film-making by exposing the set’s backdrops and the production process. The central scene, a campfire conversation between five cowboys , consists solely of quotations from films, song texts, statements by politicians and the country’s foundation myth (mirrored in Westerns and asserting the American concept of freedom), and it finally disintegrates into a litany of empty phrases. Throughout the film, Rosefeldt creates a melange of ‘frontier myths’ and present-day occurrences. He combines the figure of the lonesome and self-righteous cowboy with the gangsta-rapper, the cowboy’s speech with the Republican’s rhetoric, and leaves the interpretation to the spectator.

Shot in Andalusia in a mock-up Western town which had already served Sergio Leone's For a Few Dollars More (1965), the film can be read as a metaphorical contemplation on an empire in decay and exudes both the director's love for the mythology of the Western genre and his delight in its partial deconstruction.

Summarised from Stefan Berg, in: Julian Rosefeldt: American Night (2009)

About the Artist

Julian Rosefeldt is an internationally renowned German artist and film maker whose work primarily consists of 16mm and 35mm film and video installations that are often shown as panoramic multi-screen projections. Many of his films are characterised by the complex interweaving of several narratives of the same reality that Rosefeldt uses to expose the production process and satirically comment on themes such as consumerism, the absurdity of the human condition and cultural mythmaking.

Open Tuesday through Friday, 12 - 6 PM, Saturdays 12 - 4 PM.


WILD: Fabricating a Frontier is presented by Contemporary Calgary in partnership with Mountain Standard Time Performative Art Festival and Calgary Underground Film Festival and has been generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.

The WILD festival runs from July 7 – 15 at Globe Cinema, and the exhibition continues across Victoria School, Globe Cinema, and Illingworth Kerr Gallery until August 26, 2017.

>>> Check out the full details

Tuesday, July 18, 2017 to Saturday, August 26, 2017
Illingworth Kerr Gallery, ACAD