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Bjørn Melhus, The Castle – The Meadow – The City


Roebling Hall (Chelsea)
606 West 26th Street, 212-929-8180
November 29, 2007 - January 12, 2008
Reception: Thursday, November 29, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

Roebling Hall is pleased to announce THE CASTLE-THE MEADOW-THE CITY, a new video trilogy by Bjørn Melhus, In his fourth solo exhibition at the gallery, Melhus premieres the newly completed trilogy along with CAPTAIN, a single channel video work.

In THE MEADOW Melhus ties together the final sequence of his film AUTO CENTER DRIVE (2003) in which the main character, Jimmy, rides off into the sunset with a “phantom driver” towards an unknown future. THE MEADOW is a moving personality profile of stagnancy, reflective of the prolonged adolescence characteristic of the media-centric Pop Culture, taking the form of an endless ritual night ride.

Jimmie, now seven years older – in the middle of his life, is led on a Dante-esque confrontation with the fears and threats awakened by the media. He still cites the adolescent sentences from the films REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE (USA 1955) and EAST OF EDEN (USA 1955), while his adversaries quote fragments from the classic Disney film BAMBI (USA 1942), noted for its initial scenes of fear. By deconstructing and re-contextualizing these American film myths, THE MEADOW draws an image of a nightmarish and hopeless situation of one’s fear of the unknown and in turn forms the departing point of the trilogy, and along with THE CASTLE and THE CITY, illuminates scenarios of fear and threat.

This freewheeling, even reckless mythmaking of American Pop Culture, and the world’s pendulum-like love/hate obsession with it has long provided the Berlin-based Bjørn Melhus the core subject matter of his video work. Melhus acknowledges his own emotionally ambivalent, sometimes unwilling/sometimes obsessed participation in this powerfully seductive force of propagated transmission and engagement. By his deep immersion, literally inserting himself in it, he actively addresses media power, all the more powerfully by utilizing its own strengths to articulate its fallacies.

By capturing, twisting and reflecting the media barrage, subjecting its commonly used tactics and formats to a process of reflection and reconsideration, he re-invents the meaning. He essentially invests it with the missing self-reflection so characteristic of the emotionally simplistic mass media. Trolling cable TV, he culls from the classic mythic Hollywood, to the new reality TV, to the more insidious fear propaganda; bringing the deep emotion, the highly technical sophisticated production, and relentless psychological manipulation of this culture production into conflict with the simplistic nature of it’s content.
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