Rolf Julius: Black (Red)

September 16 - December 15, 2000
Rolf Julius

The University Gallery is pleased to present Rolf Julius - Black (Red), an exhibition of work by this German artist who has been involved with exploring the fusion of our senses, particularly sight and sound, in the perception of our surroundings. The exhibition features musical pieces that comprise natural and electronic sounds which Julius typically records, processes, and shapes into subtle compositions. His "small music," as he calls it, is delivered through diminutive speakers that are placed on the exterior walls of buildings or within expansive interior spaces. The speakers are suspended or set within bowls and then covered with colored pigments, the fine powder of which shimmies to the vibrations of sound. Sometimes Julius camouflages the speakers by putting them under small rocks or among a mixture of gravel and dirt. The artist's appreciation of simplicity, and the modest elegance that accompanies such an attitude, is also evident in his ink drawings of which a selection will be on display. Black (Red) is on view from September 16 through October 27, and from November 4 through December 15, 2000. An opening reception, at which the artist will be present, is to be held on Friday evening, September 15 from 5 to 7 p.m. A catalogue will be produced after the exhibition opens and is to be available by the end of the year.

Born in Wilhelmshaven, Germany in 1939, Julius studied art in Bremen and later in Berlin where he now lives. He became interested in the junction between music and visual art around 1975 and has been including electronics- both as tool and inspiration-in his work since the early 1980s. The artist cites several influences on the manner of his approach most notably the avant-garde composer John Cage who, in the early 1950s, challenged the traditions of classical music by embracing "found" sounds, chance effects, and the quality of silence in his compositions. Cage provided a base for experimental music that by the end of the 1970s produced the New Music generation which included, among others, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, and La Monte Young. "In my music," says Julius, "the instruments are very simple and small. Visually small-and the sound is small too. I am not really intent on expressing ideas in the form of music, but rather about receiving something which is already there."

The artist has participated in numerous international exhibitions, and his work has been featured at several American venues including InSite'94, San DiegolTijuana, the Goethe House, New York (1996), and the Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh (1998). Julius has selfproduced four CDs of recordings of past music installations which can be purchased over the Internet at


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Related Media

Rolf Julius

Rolf Julius Catalog

Text by Regina Coppola
36 pgs., 24 illus.
Published in 2001
Price $8