Rituals of Capitalism
July 11 - September 8, 2012
541 - 545 West 23rd Street
Opening reception: Wednesday, July 11, 6 - 8 PM
Leo Koenig Inc. is delighted to present a solo exhibition of multi-channel videos and photographs by Julika Rudelius. Over the course of the exhibition, the gallery will screen Rituals of Capitalism(2012) and Rites of Passage (2008) in both spaces to contextualize the artist's sustained focus on socialization, elitism, sex, power, and neoliberal capitalism.
If global financial institutions and capital flows comprise the backbone of neoliberal capitalism, the subcutaneous muscle is formed through an immense global advertising machine. This machine's intricately networked fasciae of gossip websites, Hollywood trends and social media work in concert to elicit our most primal desires for the purpose of transforming those desires into consumer choices. Pervasive cultural narratives about overnight success, meteoric profitability and instant fame are bolstered by the Mark Zuckerbergs, the Chad Hurleys and the Kim Kardashians of the world. These icons of capitalism lend credence to the blueprint for a supposedly successful life through hard work, innovation and consumption. In absorbing these narratives we, the public, project our own desires, wishes, and expectations onto these iconic representations in hopes of emulating them. Our interpellation through mediated images and products makes these rituals of capitalism routine.
In 2010, while completing a residency in Guangzhou, China, Rudelius began filming Rituals of Capitalism. Given her inability to communicate linguistically, the artist reached for universal visual signs that would facilitate a common ground. Not surprisingly, the most ubiquitous images were those generated by the global marketing machine. In her video, Rudelius captures new encounters with established regimes of self-presentation that are embraced with a precarious blend of curiosity and hesitation.
In her film Rites of Passage, Rudelius leads us down the secret paths to political power into the private lairs where the next generation of cultural elites will receive instruction in credibility, persuasion and charisma. The young men depicted in Rites of Passage are hand-selected from ivy-league universities to be groomed by superiors who constantly test the attitude, poise and rhetorical capabilities of young initiates. Over time, the film's spoken lines become interchangeable, forcing the viewer to focus rather on the men's seemingly choreographed movements and touches. Inflection, long silences and gazes underscore the play of submission while the men's faces radiate with nervous tension and brooding expectations that border on the erotic. Rites of Passage is about politics only in part. It is equally concerned with the behavior that is prescribed and maintained within a particular environment in which one's actions derive their meaning through ritualistic observation.
Julika Rudelius is a video and performance artist that has exhibited internationally. Ms. Rudelius's work has been featured at the Tate Modern, the Stedelijk Museum, the ZKM, the Brooklyn Museum, and MoCA North Miami. In 2009, she participated in the International Center of Photography Triennial, the International Incheon Women Artists' Biennial and the Heartland Exhibition at the Smart Museum. She has mounted solo exhibitions at the Swiss Institute of Contemporary Art, the Centre Culturel Suisse, the Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam and at the Frans Hals Museum. Rudelius studied photography at the Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam, and completed residencies at the Rijksakademie van beeldenden kunsten as well as the International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn and Amsterdam.