The ability to perceive accurately and discerningly is now our most limited, and our most valuable commodity. Julia Eichler’s work embraces the occasional disparity between perception and reality.
2020 has stimulated and challenged us like no year in living memory. From how we complete simple physical tasks to how we think, there has been a profound shift in all aspects of daily life. We are transforming. This unique moment has forced us online, away from the world of the physical, the tangible and secure. Instead we find ourselves in a space where the artificial is the only opportunity to connect with others. Coincidentally, this shift has coincided with a period of more abstract uncertainty, the era of “fake news” and conspiracy theories. We are unable to verify the truth of things we see on the news or the internet. “Lockdown” has further reduced our connection to reality; life beyond our homes and computer screens.
Julia constructs walls
The Halle based artist, Julia Eichler, is a prolific creator of installations and sculptures, producing striking and idiosyncratic pieces. A cursory inspection of works such as Kiel II and BORDERWALLPROTOTYPES would suggest a genuine representation of pieces of wall. Walls are strong and stable. Yet, appropriately for the times we find ourselves in, Eichler has created a crucial gap between our perception of the wall and the reality of the wall.
Julia appropriates our expectations of what a “wall” is and how it should function. Externally identical to a genuine concrete wall, Julia’s walls are simply artifices. They are made of foam, papier-mâché, and other materials that Julia says, “imply wall and wall pieces, but are contrary to their functionality”. This is key to her work. The materials Julia uses mimic concrete walls. In fact, they are diametrically opposed to concrete, both in terms of utility and functionality.
images supplied by artist, credits as listed
In Julia’s work, the method and materials are as intrinsic to the meaning and impact of her art as the finished piece itself. Julia intrepidly visits abandoned industrial buildings, disused schools or anywhere that bears the marks of human influence and intervention. She has developed a process allowing her to mould, and duplicate these abandoned sites. Julia uses papier-mâché to create an impression, and other tools to replicate paintwork and other details on her reproduction. She considers her facsimiles “archives”, caches of these abandoned and derelict buildings. Her artwork is a reflection of human progress. Our buildings give insight into our priorities, our intentions and lifestyle.
Assumptions and realities
When we look upon a purported concrete wall, we do not only see a physical object, but we have a set of assumptions about the attributes of the wall. Julia’s sculptures provide the image of a wall, but not the attributes. Her walls are not heavy, unmoving and forbidding, but are rather “ Light, and soft”, malleable and flexible. This theme continues in Julia’s work Viscous Matrices, in which solid walls seem to flow into bowls. It is, of course, an illusion created by papier-mâché.
Important to note is that Julia’s walls are not mere replicas, but directly contradict the purpose and identity of a wall by being delicate, light and pliant. This creates what Julia calls a “deconstruction of reality”. The expectations and prejudices that are present when we view her walls are deconstructed and dissipated when the reality of her creations are realised. Perhaps we cannot trust Julia’s sculptures in a conventional sense, yet they still provide a comforting reassurance. With reality deconstructed, possibilities are opened up. Imagination is freed. The wall is soft when it should be hard, light when it should be heavy. In a world where things we believe to be true are challenged, perhaps, like Julia’s sculptures, we should free ourselves from the limits of perception and allow our imaginations to provide clarity and direction.
written by Ben Gosling
See more of Julia Eichler’s work and upcoming exhibitions on her website.
As a local participant of PILOTENKUECHE’s round 37 in Oct-Dec 2018, Julia was in the following PK exhibitions:
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Vernissage: 01.11.18, 19h
Open: 02.11 – 04.11.18 17-20h
Location: PING PONG, Helmholtzstraße 1, 04177 Leipzig, Germany
Vernissage: 16.11.18, 19h
Open: 17-21.11.18 17 – 20h
Finissage: 22.11.18, 19h
Location: Krudebude, Stannebeinplatz 13, 04347 Leipzig, Germany
Vernissage: 23.11.18, 19h
Open: 24 – 29.11.18, 13 – 17h
Finissage: 30.11.18 19h
Location: Alte Handelsschule, Gießerstraße 75, 04229 Leipzig, Germany
Vernissage: 14.12.18, 19h
Open: 15 – 20.12.18 17h-20h
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany