Julian Charrière, the Conceptual Artist

“Charrière focuses on investigations of the natural world, revealing the profound force exerted by humans and the environment on one another and highlighting how ecological systems can exhibit traces of human energy,” as phrased by Artsy, the online source for fine art.

Originally from the district of Morges in Switzerland, Charrière was born in the year of 1987 and is of Swiss-French descent. He began his tertiary education in pursuance of art at the École cantonale d’art du Valais in Switzerland. However, he later transferred to the Berlin University of Arts in Germany where he eventually completed his studies under Olafur Eliasson’s Institut für Raumexperimente (Institute of Spatial Experiments) in 2013.

Julian Charrière is a Berlin-based artist who presents his work in the form of sculpture, photography and performance by way of conceptualism. The changing cultural knowledge of the natural world and its processes are key mechanisms that are explicitly present in his projects. Charrière frequently travels to remote locations such as Kazakhstan and the Southern Cone in pursuit of inspiration and knowledge of the natural sciences, in addition to the attainment of earth materials which he uses to create his artwork. He often explores distant spots that are hazardous due to their exposure to natural disasters such as volcanoes and icefields.

“I use some scientific methods, but I would describe it more as an archeologist or geologist. I go into the field and get inspired by what I see, then I bring things back to the studio and do work,” he explains.

One of Julian Charrière’s most alluring project is the on-site performance titled Some Pigeons Are More Equal Than Others in which he collaborated with Julius von Bismarck, another renowned artist, for La Biennale di Venezia (the Venice Biennial), the 13th International Architecture Exhibition that happened in 2012. Since then, Charrière and Bismarck have worked together recurrently, notably in 2016, to produce Objects in mirror might be closer than they appear, Desert Now and so forth. Charrière has had his projects featured by Das Numen, the Berlin-based art collective, in addition to his solo art expositions. He has had his work exhibited all across the world ranging from Europe to Asia. Several of his most recent expositions were located in Parasol Unit Foundation for Art in London, Galerie Bugada & Cargnel in Paris, Dittrich and Schlechtriem in Berlin, Steve Turner Gallery in Los Angeles, Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India and so on.

Charrière was presented with the Kiefer Hablitzel Swiss Art Awards first in 2013, then again in 2015. The prize-winning exhibition in 2013 is named after a quote by Buckminster Fuller – We Are All Astronauts on A Little Spaceship Called Earth. This project deals with current issues centering around the concept of occurrences that alters the relationship between space and time as well as their conditions with respect to the growth on a worldwide scale. Not long after, his piece was featured in a curated section at the Lyon Biennial of Palais de Tokyo. A year later, in 2016, Charrière was granted the Kaiserring Scholarship for Young Art. He was subsequently announced as one of the three artists who were nominated for the BMW Art Journey 2017 during Art Basel in Hong Kong. Within the same year, Charrière’s art piece was showcased in Viva Arte Viva, the 57th international Art Exhibition curated by Christine Macel for La Biennale di Venezia.

For the Armory Show that took place over the past few days, a number of Julian Charrière’s pieces were featured under the Dittrich and Schlechtriem gallery. Two of the most exclusive sets were the Future Fossil Spaces – materials used include salt from the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia and acrylic containers filled with lithium-brine. It is an installation comprising of three hexagonal towers constructed by salt and plaster. The other piece is titled Bokbata II – Terminal Beach, 2016 and is presented in the form of a sizeable monochromatic photograph.

“To date, his works has explored post-romantic constructions of ‘nature’, and staged tensions between deep or geological timescales and those relating to mankind. Charrière’s approach further reflects upon the mythos of the quest and its objects in a globalized age. Deploying seemingly perennial imagery to contemporary ends, his interventions at the borderline of mysticism and the material encapsulate our fraught relations with place today,” concluded by Julian Charrière’s online platform.

Featured Image via Dage – Looking For Europe

Harley-Davidson rolls out new models as sales decline

Harley-Davidson, Inc. is set to revamp its Softail lineup with a slew of new 2018 models, Charles Fleming of The LA Times reports. The company told Fleming the new models are “already on their way to dealerships.”

The new bikes will weigh less than their predecessors and will feature new engines with more torque. Many will have improved lean angles so that they steer and corner better.

The company has announced eight new Softails, according to Fleming: the Fat Boy, the Heritage Classic (formerly the Heritable Softail Classic), the Low Rider, the Softail Slim, the Deluxe, the Breakout, the Fat Bob and the Street Bob.

The Softail line has absorbed the Dyna line, leading to the discontinuation of the Sportster 1200T, the Del VROD Muscle and Night Rod Special, and the Wide Glide.

Milwaukee-Eight 107 V-twin engines will come standard on each of the new models. Those engines measure 107 cubic inches and boast 147 Nm of torque.

The larger Milwaukee-Eight 114 will be available as an upgrade on the Heritage Classic, the Breakout and the Fat Boy. That engine will pack 161 Nm of torque.

Harley has taken steps to reduce the vibration in both engines, Fleming says, thereby reducing RPMs during idling and limiting engine noise when the bikes are at rest.

Harley told Fleming the two engines are “the most powerful…ever offered” in its Big Twin cruiser category.

Each of the new models will also be equipped with a new chassis and new suspension.

Harley has seen sales drop as the core of its customer base continues to age, and the company is struggling to attract a younger generation of bikers. Many among the new generation prefer other bikes over Harleys, and the company’s dominance in the market is waning.

So, prior to rolling out its new offerings, Harley launched what it calls, per the Times, “the most extensive research and development program” in its history, which dates back to 1903. The company asked current as well as prospective riders to suggest improvements, and many of those surveyed asked for lighter bikes with better handling.

Harley delivered, but doubt remains as to whether the new bikes will precipitate a rise in sales.

“This model year lineup may not be enough to reverse Harley’s US retail sales declines, now in their third consecutive year,” said USB analyst Robin Farley, per the Times.

Harley sold 54,786 units domestically in quarter two of last year, and 49,668 in this most recent quarter. That’s a decline of 5,118 units (9.3%) year-over-year.

The company has made other changes in an effort to drag its hogs into the modern age. LED headlights and a USB port will come standard on all new models. Cruise control will come standard on the Heritage Classic and will be available as an add-on on all other models. Anti-lock breaks will come pre-installed on the Fat Boy, the Deluxe, the Heritage Classic and the Breakout, and will be optional on the other models.

Some die-hard Harley riders, Fleming says, have resisted such changes as electric starters and anti-lock breaking systems.

Perhaps in an effort to appease such customers, Harley has given the Heritage Classic, along with some of the other new models, a vintage look, featuring, per Fleming, “spoked wheels, blacked-out rims and period-correct headlight bezels,” among other “details.”

Like all Harleys, the new models will benefit from the company’s parts and accessories catalog. Riders will be able to modify seat and handlebar configurations and make other changes.

Fleming, who test-rode the Heritage Classic and the Fat Boy, says both of those bikes sit low, making them suitable for smaller riders.

The Low Rider and the Street Bob, each of which costs $14,999, are the most budget-friendly of the new models. The Heritage Classic and the Fat Boy are the most expensive of the new bikes; with the 114 engine, each of those bikes will cost $20,299.

Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons