alexander levy gallery is pleased to exhibit a solo presentation of the artist Julius von Bismarck at ART COLOGNE | NEW CONTEMPORARIES. Von Bismarck is currently investigating the human beings’ escape from planet earth and the associated energy input. The latter manifests itself in clouds of rocket starts as escape formations and in never-ending restarts. An analogy to this topic is recognizable in a series of photographes of tents that come loose from their moorings and soar towards the sky.

In Escape Velocity von Bismarck is concentrating on filmed documentation of failed rocket starts of the past 70 years. All rocket launches, even the first V2 rocket tests, were well documented on film for eventual failure analysis. The film Escape Velocity is a chronological screening of failed rocket starts. The artist arranged selected photographs of rocket explosions in a collage. The energy, required to reach the escape velocity that allows travel beyond our gravitational bounds, becomes the explosion cloud. Julius von Bismarck transfers this moment through casting the shapes in aluminum. Escape Shapes is the title of the amorphic sculptures that are documenting the ephemeral moment into permanent shapes.

In the booth a performer will count at a predetermined speed. He/she has to start over the moment he/she misses a beat or makes a mistake. It condenses all the effort that went into research and the resources that made the rocket start possible and have to start from scratch in the moment of the explosion.

A series of photographs of flying tents is also concentrating on the topic of failing and the yearning of escape. The tents should not leave the ground in contrast to the rockets, but in the photos they come loose and hurtle through the air without their human inhabitants.

Julius von Bismarck’s interest in the cloud discontinues the widely practiced approach in art and media history as an object of metaphorical meaning – the realm of the divine exemplified by Michelangelo’s painting in the Sistine Chapel Ceiling or a symptom of destruction, such as Conner’s compilation of the atomic bomb tests in the Bikini-Atoll area. Technical unpredictability and the vast energy of research and resource contained in the cloud, come together in a stunning escape formation. The sheer beauty and variation of the clouds form a phenomenon of their own, somewhere beyond historico-cultural forces.