Press Release

Julian Charrière’s solo exhibition Controlled Burn will occupy the entirety of the Tadao Ando–designed Langen Foundation in Neuss, Germany, from September 4, 2022 to August 6, 2023. Featuring a suite of significant new commissions set within a constellation of works from Charrière’s oeuvre, Controlled Burn is the artist’s most extensive exhibition to date.



International exhibitions

International ongoing exhibitions

Julian Charrière, Controlled Burn

Langen Foundation, Neuss (Germany)
04.09.2022 - 06.08.2023




Controlled Burn meditates upon the flame as a figure of excess, containment, and renewal for our warming planet. Curated by Charrière’s long-time collaborators, philosopher Dehlia Hannah and art historian and curator Nadim Samman, the exhibition presents an ambitious essay on the politics and poetics of combustion. A site-specific installation enables the show to run on solar energy, engaging with the location’s prior use as a NATO rocket storage facility and the current climate and energy crises.

Charrière’s work addresses urgent ecological concerns, often stemming from fieldwork at signal locations, such as volcanoes, glaciers, oil palm plantations, undersea and radioactive zones. Deepening Charrière’s reflections upon ideas of nature and our place therein, Controlled Burn interrogates the dark vitality of materials used for fuel: coal, petroleum, palm oil, and sunshine. Taking us back in time and deep underground, Charrière’s speculative visions range over fossilized life-worlds and future atmospheres saturated by the burnt residues of modernity’s excess. Throughout, Controlled Burn questions humankind’s fraught grip on fire, while foregrounding the agency of plants in shaping planetary futures.

Julian Charrière: “The new works invite the viewer to confront and encounter the relationship between fossil fuels, imagination, and the natural landscape. From making sparks with flint to devastating explosions, and from oil rigs and open-pit mines to panchronic gardens, the artworks mediate our history with fire as an immersive dimension.”

Curators Dehlia Hannah and Nadim Samman: “Europe today faces an unprecedented energy crisis, in which environmental goals collide with urgent political priorities. As European nations restart shuttered coal-fired power plants and nuclear reactors, Controlled Burn confronts our alienation from the materials, processes and infrastructure that make the continuous flow of energy possible at the flip of a switch. In this exhibition, fires burning underground, outside the city limits, in distant pasts and futures, are brought to life for our imagination.”

Tensions between the mythos and infrastructure of fire form the exhibition’s central axis of concern. The titular work, Controlled Burn, is a major new video that invites the viewer to soar through an endless display of imploding fireworks. Shot by drone in first-person perspective, this aerial voyage traverses rusting cooling towers, decommissioned oil rigs, and open-pit mines, amid which viewers glimpse flashes of unfurling ferns and fluttering moths. The newly commissioned Panchronic Garden invites visitors to enter a coal seam in the process of becoming. Growing under infrared lamps in a seemingly endless greenhouse, the dense thicket of foliage appears jet black before our eyes, evoking the history of coal mined in the region of North Rhine-Westphalia and the vast Carboniferous forests that grew there 300 million years ago. As visitors commune with the ghosts of beings whose fossilized remains power our present dreams and environmental nightmares, a pair of robotic arms rub together flints in a mechanical bid to reenact humanity’s primeval theft of fire.

Karla Zerressen, Director of the Langen Foundation: “Julian Charrière’s work addresses the urgencies of our time by drawing our attention to often overlooked subjects. Through depictions of endangered nature that are equal parts beautiful and alarming, Julian’s work initiates a dialogue that invites viewers to dig deeper. The Langen Foundation, designed by Tadao Ando, becomes an integral part of this conversation as Charrière uses the building’s architecture to navigate tension and calm.”

Exhibition 04 September  2022 - 06 August 2023 . Langen Foundation, Raketenstation Hombroich 1 - 41472 Neuss (Germany). T +49 2182 570115.






Julian Charrière, Controlled Burn, Langen Foundation, Neuss, Germany

© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2022. All Rights Reserved

Julian Charrière, Controlled Burn (excerpt), 2022. 4K film, 16:10 aspect ratio, 3D ambisonic soundscape, continuous video loop, 32 minutes. © All rights reserved Julian Charrière, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany.

Julian Charrière, Controlled Burn (excerpt), 2022. 4K film, 16:10 aspect ratio, 3D ambisonic soundscape, continuous video loop, 32 minutes. © All rights reserved Julian Charrière, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany.