Harun Farocki, 1944-2014


Harun Farocki, a prolific German filmmaker whose works were often shown in international art museums, died July 30 at 70. The cause of death has not yet been released. Farocki, who lived and worked in Berlin for nearly 40 years, produced over 100 works for television and cinema. Many of them explored the relationships between politics, technology and the visual arts.

Farocki’s four-part film Ernste Spiele (Serious Games), 2009-10, is currently on view at Berlin’s Nationalgalerie (through Jan. 18). The film, which follows four Marines using video game technology to train at a California military base, was previously featured in the solo exhibition “Images of War (at a Distance)” at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Earlier this year, the artist’s Parallele I-IV (2012-14) was exhibited at Paris’s Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac; Farocki was the first practitioner working in video to be featured at the gallery.

Farocki’s works have been exhibited in numerous retrospectives, including at Vienna’s Filmmuseum, 2006; Barcelona’s Museum of Contemporary Art, 2004; MoMA, 2001, and Paris’s Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume, 1995. He had solo exhibitions at London’s Tate Modern, 2009, and Munich’s Osram Art Projects, 2010, among others. The artist participated in Documenta in 2007 with Deep Play and in 1997 with Still Life.

Farocki was also an author. His most recent book, Against What? Against Whom? (Koenig Books, 2010), is a monograph on his films with accompanying essays by critics. From 1974 to 1984, he worked as an editor-writer for the Munich film journal Filmkritik.

“For almost a decade we had the privilege to work with [Farocki] at the gallery and we have valued him as an outstanding artist and a true friend,” a representative for Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac said in a statement given to A.i.A. “His timeless work and immense influence in the visual arts remain indispensable and unforgettable.”