Berlin from an artist’s perspective: an interview with Julian Charrière

by Carla Ingrasciotta
April 22, 2016
Carla Ingrasciotta
Charrière Julian

In occasion of our Focus dedicated to the Gallery Weekend Berlin, we asked artist Julian Charrière to share with our readers his artist’s perspective on the city of Berlin.
During the upcoming special weekend, Julian is having his third solo show with the gallery Dittrich & Schlechtriem,  Into the Hollow”  in which the artist transforms the space into a sort of cabinet of geological curiosities.

Carla Ingrasciotta: Let’s start with your exhibition “Into the Hollow”. You work a lot with different kind of materials (stones, pieces of metal, technological gadgets…). Could you tell us more about your installation? Where did you get your inspiration from?

Julian Charrière: I like to work with many materials, but not just for the sake of experimenting with different textures and physical states but more based on the symbolic qualities that they have. This symbolism is also, in turn, a product of the origins and geographical location and context of each of these pieces. In the exhibition “Into the Hollow” the mineral exponats that we see are a result of a high energy mixture between artificial lava and molten technological devices. These devices are therefore no longer recognizable as the manufactured objects that they once represented, but are brought back to a state of geological potential in their original matrice. The idea of returning these minerals back to their original or/and future form is a way of stressing the idea of the cycle, creating a bridge between past and future, a time-line which potentially expands in two directions simultaneously: a transfer from the mineral to the digital and backwards; a geo-reset.

C.I: Your art focuses on the investigations of the natural world and its relationship with the human being. How is this translated in your artworks? You travel the remotest regions of the planet to find the objects for you artworks. Could you tell us more about your process of creation?

J.C.: The relationship between the “natural” world and human beings is definitely a recurrent topic in my work but it also has to do with the way in which this relationship has evolved through the accelerated process of technological advances and large scale industrialization. It is through these sudden changes that our perspective of time has been altered, creating a twisted type of timeline of history. Because these ideas are fixed to specific geographies, I often travel to these specific places and carry out expeditions so as to understand the space from another, more sensorial perspective. It is through this that I am able to resonate with my surrounding, becoming part of what I am also trying to investigate.

C.I.: As many artists you live and work in Berlin. What is your relationship with the city and why did you choose to live here? Does the city itself inspire your work?

J.C.: The reason why I came to this city 11 years ago was actually music. But why I chose to stay in the city is another question. I think Berlin is a very convenient city for artists for many reasons. For one, there is a large and extense cultural scene as well as the necessary infrastructure to sustain it. A very strong art economy developed around the production process without a proper art market. This is very refreshing. Also the city is quite permissive, expanding the possibilities of our realities.

C.I.: You have a shared studio with Julius von Bismarck and Felix Kiessling. How would you describe the work with them? Is there any kind of collaboration or competitiveness between you?

Sharing a studio with friends and not only friends, but highly competent artists is something that I truly enjoy. The studio environment also helps in the production process. It is a place where we can all exchange ideas and knowledge, both intellectually and technically. So, in the end, we all profit from this shared space, not to mention that it also makes work much more fun.
Funny enough, we just recently opened a show with Felix and Julius at Steve Turner Gallery in Los Angeles and although this can be difficult at times, I constantly collaborate with other people for the production of my work. Collaborating is not always easy but it is definitely fun. So no, I wouldn´t say there is competitiveness between us, only a drive to produce and go further with our work that is fed from one anothers paths, pushing us all to move forward.

C.I.: Could you tell us five places in Berlin you would suggest to someone who loves art?

J.C.: There are so many galleries and museums in Berlin that it would be unfair to mention only a few!
I would start by passing by Pro Quadrat Meter to buy some interesting books. Then I would go to Treptower park to have a walk, read a bit and visit the Russian memorial. In the evening I would definitely recommend Industrie Standard in Neuköln because most of the people who love art enjoy food! Then I would have some fine spirits at the Shwarze Traube. The day after, if not hangover you could try to visit Import Projects or In-situ for a taste of art.

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