Julia Oschatz moves effortlessly between different forms of artistic expression including video, installation and video performance. She has invented a hybrid creature, half-man and half-animal, and sent it travelling in her works through wide-open landscapes, caverns and seas, citing topoi of historical artistic movements such as romanticism ironically transposed into different media. In Erehwon (“nowhere” read backwards) Oschatz’s creature embarks on a journey with no destination, going through a whole range of different environments and states of mind in search its own identity. It can, however, find no peace by travelling the world in a cardboard box, hanging itself from a leafless tree, lying stretched out on a spinning wheel as a moving target or making holes in its cardboard head so as to “see” the world outside.
Julia Oschatz develops no narrative structure in her videos and paintings. The latter often remain schematic. The colours are not specifically chosen and different techniques are combined in accordance with her requirements. The background is nearly always nothing than more than simple scenery, revealing the artist’s background in theatre and set design. She also interprets the definition of the video as “moving pictures” quite literally. Her short animated videos remain two-dimensional, just like paintings, and the images in motion simply capture one fleeting moment out of the many possibilities, with no undue concentration on the individual frame. The narrative, which is nearly always confined to a comic-ending effect also in the videos, is thus developed at most in the succession of images and the contemplation of frames in sequence. In Erehwon too, it is the spectator that must try to give some meaning to the absurd actions of the creature, which becomes an antihero ironically reminding us that the escape from pre-established models and forms of representation means taking an often painful path.
Julia Oschatz (Darmstadt, 1970) has held solo shows at the Centro de Arte de Caja de Burgos (Spain) and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, both in 2008, as well as the Städtische Galerie in Wolfsburg and the Städtische Galerie in Delmenhorst (Germany). She has also taken part in group exhibitions at the Blaffer Gallery in Houston, the Kunstmuseum in Bonn, the church of San Paolo in Modena and the Islip Art Museum, East Islip (New York). Works by the artist are held in various public and private collections, including the Museum der Bildenden Künste in Leipzig, the Kunsthalle in Hamburg and the Chadha Collection (the Netherlands). Julia Oschatz lives and works in Berlin.