Rolf Julius was born in 1939 in northern Germany, where he received classical training in the fine arts. In the late 1970s, he gradually discovered certain contemporary composers (in particular La Monte Young, at festivals and on the radio), and became increasingly involved in acoustic performances which he gave in public parks and at alternative venues. In the early 1980s, Rolf Julius was thus already laying the foundations for a body of work in which acoustic space--sound--would have priority. In various experimental ways he explored the possibilities offered by sound broadcasting techniques, but even at this early stage (and this would be a constant factor in his approach) the works were developing with an on-going concern for the relationship with the space of the world, and with nature.
The years 1983-1984 marked a significant moment in Rolf Julius's life. He went to live in New York, where he met most of the important artists and composers involved with the experimental avant-garde, in particular John Cage, but Takehisa Kosugi, too, who would henceforth be a veritable master for him. The company he kept during that period of intellectual and artistic ferment in the United States enabled Julius to compare his own short personal history with the history that had been taking shape on the far side of the Atlantic for more than 20 years. His work was now no longer isolated, and as soon as he was back in Europe, it found a new audience. But it was in Japan that his work would be very swiftly recognized and given an enthusiastic welcome. In Japan, the artist was regularly invited for both concert-performances and exhibitions, where he had a chance to show his drawings and sculptures. But his relationship with Japan was no coincidence: there is in Julius Rolf's work an extreme preoccupation with formal precision and elegance, which also has to do with the place that the void occupies in his works. (Here we can see an obvious link with classical Japanese culture. The connection with the contemporary period recurs in his way of incorporating wood and everyday kitchen receptacles as sound diffusers, but above all through the many opportunities offered him to install his "small music". (Small Music is the overall title that the artist gives to his work as a whole in these traditional gardens).
Julius's work was shown for the first time in France in 1980, in Paris (Music for the eyes, l'ARC, City of Paris Museum of Modern Art), then at the La Criée Art Centre in Rennes (1988); the artist has also been regularly exhibited in Grenoble (Broken Music, Le Magasin, 1989-1900), Lyon (Musique en scène, 1996), Dijon (FRAC Bourgogne, 2001) and Paris (Lara Vincy Gallery, 1997 and 2002) in solo shows, and at contemporary music festivals. The largest ever exhibition of his work was at the FRAC Limousin in 2003. His works are in many public French collections.