Born in Erfurt in 1981, currently living in Berlin. Trained at Ostkreuz – Photographer’s Agency. Julian Röder was recognized for his work with the 2014 Ellen Auerbach Scholarship for Photography.
Julian Röder addresses in his photography the complex structures of power and the economy. Röder was as a photojournalist with Ostkreuz – Photographer’s Agency for many years, an experience which has had a lasting impact on his work. His photography oscillates between documentary and conceptual approaches, and his compositions have at times alluded to historical works. The photographs in his series The Summits (2001-2008), depicting clashes between anti-globalization activists and police at protest actions surrounding several G8 summits, invite comparisons with battle scenes familiar from fine art. In Human Resources (2007-2009) Röder has created from the neoliberal experience an artificially frozen landscape in which solitary trade-show employees are marooned, surrounded by displays and booths from which the artist has meticulously removed all trace of the logos and slogans that articulate the promises of advertising. Röder underscores his message by presenting the portraits in gold-framed light boxes: The world of commerce is a world of illusion, without depth and content. His series Mission and Task (2012/13) includes portraits of officials for Frontex at their workplaces on the external borders of the Schengen Area. A glance at the titles of the stunning works of landscape photography which accompany these portraits reveals that these idyllic scenes are in fact depictions of border fortification facilities in Melilla and, in another case, an observation blimp off the coast of southern France. Roeder also photographed the high-tech equipment used by Frontex to monitor borders with the aid of complex computer systems to prevent refugees from entering the European Union, as seen in his work Thermal Imaging Camera, Northern Greece. The composition of these images and the glare of the camera flash lends the objects the appearance of props in some grotesque play – the politics of exclusion as theatre. In doing so, Röder directs our attention to the constructed nature of political boundaries and privileges. His interest in the function of borders as a means to both contain and exclude people stems from his childhood experience of precisely this predicament.
Image 1: „Thermal Imaging Camera, Northern Greece“, Bild 2: „Border Situation, Northern Greece“
from the series „Mission and Task“, 2012
Film // directed by Dörte Grimm * camera: Martin Jörg * cut: Nadja Smith * sounddesign: Urton Music * production: Nadja Smith