INTERVIEW // Julie Boserup
Build and bend II, hand folded Epson Luster print. 41 x 32 cm, framed, edition of 3
Commission by Insights collection, Weinerberger
Photo by: Silver lab
What were some of your first creative outlets as a kid?
Funny you start there, it is actually something I have been thinking more about the last years, since I, along with my art practice, sometimes develop practical art education classes at various museum and art spaces in Copenhagen. I guess I hope to invite the kids into a creative process that I never met, professionally, as a kid.
I always liked to draw, as a small kid I dont think I was any better than other kids, but I have a very clear memory of many of the drawings i did. When I see the drawings today I remember my exact thoughts and feelings from when I made it… One memory: I must have been 3 or 4 years old, I made a drawing of my grandmother, who died very tragically when my dad was a kid (I had obviously never seen her), but after i did that drawing I thought this is exactly what she looked like, now I know her a bit more. The strange thing is, I also remember the drawing, which looked like nothing special, it was very green, there was a circle, a smile and two eyes, a lot of lines.. a typical children drawing, but in my experience it was grand!
Is your work a direct outcome of a specific observation or more of an accumulation of a bunch of different observations?
Observation is important in the process, my first interest in art was from classical drawing, where drawing from observation is a key to everything, here drawing is a way to analyse and understand what you see. It is just a convention, but I still think it plays a role for me.
First in the multiple ways you can look at my pieces, I play with the eye, try to invite the viewer in and out of layers, creating impossible structures. I am more and more interested in the optic elements, to play with the eye and make it visible how your eyes are tricked.
Observation has also affected how I look at my own surroundings. I have worked a lot with cityscapes. I always wanted to find my own version of the city, de-establish the obvious hierarchies of what we see; the facade, the door, to other details like the brick, the corner etc. I sometimes work with photos I shoot myself, but I never feel satisfied with the photo, I cannot really see the photo before I get it out and start to work with it as a collage, this is where I truly observe it, where I am allowed to reconsider all the elements and the balance of the image. Here I use collage as a kind of analysis or `get to know process ́ with the image.
color pencil and collage on digital print, w 133,66 cm x h 170,01 cm. Unique, 2016.
Source Image:Date: 7/29/1963 From the Wurts. Bros. Collection at The Museum of the city of New York.
Commision by Sous les Etoiles Gallery
Photo by: Fine Art Scan
Do you look for anything specific when picking your base photos? Do you have an idea and then pick the best picture to execute the idea or do the ideas come when you find the material?
I most often start with an image or with a collection of images. I.e. I worked with a picture archive at the National Library in Denmark, where I found a collection (Struwing commercial Photographers) of more than 30.000 photos of newly built architecture, in Denmark between 1930íes and 1980íes. They documented all the most known buildings in the country, but I knew I wanted to work with some of the less prestigious buildings, the kind of public building normal people meet in schools, swimming pools etc.
I went through all the images, but I made sure to take notes and make sketches of ideas when I went a long. Finally I worked with 10 images and they were more or less all from the first box. Somehow that was where all the best ideas came..
So yes the idea comes from the possibilities I see in the material, then I deconstruct it through the collage process. When I make room installations the idea comes from the specific space. Sometimes I work from a type of motive, like pillars, but most often not.
Is there anywhere in the world other than Denmark, that you find the architecture fascinating? Whether it be for cultural or aesthetic reasons?
Yes indeed. Not only architecture, I find buildings in general, interesting and cityscapes. I studied art in London and the difference from a danish welfare state to London was very inspiring. In Copenhagen city planning is very important and we are quite good at it, people like Jan Gehl has affected the way urban planners have created space and room for the passerby, and I'm very grateful for that, but everything is very defined and designed. In London I was very inspired by the randomness of the urban space. Here people build, repair and shape their surroundings in a much more spontaneous way, after the logic of making do and getting by. The local shopkeeper sometimes creates his/her own window facade, scaffolding can be something you fix yourself etc… on top of that you had all the bulky waste out on the pavement, often quite disgusting but also a fantastic treasure chest of furniture and strange leftover objects.
In my own art, there is an element of wanting to rein habit the architecture in my own way, see what other spaces can be created from the architecture, not only the way the architect intended it to be used, but creating other (abstract) spaces from the original building in the photo. At the same time I have a huge affection for structure, control, defined lines, and buildings as massive material presence, maybe that’s my nordic upbringing...
Collage on Inkjet print partially washed and sanded. Unique, 2015.
Photo by: Fine Art Scan
What about architecture do you think is so telling of a story of values of the land in inhibits?
I get very deeply affected by the build environment when I arrive in a new place, it can be for cultural and aesthetic reasons, but also historic, recently I went to Viborg a town in the provinces of Denmark, it is one of the oldest cities in the country and I was very inspired by the brickwork, old handmade bricks and brick ornament over every door. Today there is little space for the extra details like that, and you felt the work of the craftsmen.
I guess architecture is telling of the values of the country, but maybe it is even more interesting to see people interact differently depending on the culture and place. And then again architecture is very international now, good ideas and buildings move across borders, rapidly.
Since your printed works have to do with a lot with spaces and structure do you find that when you construct installations, that is taking your work one step further, or do you find it one in the same. Does it feel more rewarding being able to actually manipulate a physical space opposed to working in two dimensions?
My paper based work is very much about holding back physical three dimensionality enough, to leave space for the eye to unfold the space visually. Focusing on the illusion of space, rather than making actual sculptures. I like it if I can provoke a sense where you feel like unfolding the pieces, but you do it with your eyes only.
When i make my installations I most often work from an existing space, that i dismantle, the deconstruction process is similar to the way I work with an architectural photo in my paper collages, but it is very different because you can actually walk around inside the piece. When I create my installations I feel like I'm standing inside one of my collages, it involves movement, light etc. a whole other choreography that you don’t find in a framed paper work. I learn a lot from the installations that I can use in my collages and vice versa. I also feel that the installations and collages activate each other when shown together, making you look for other details and spaces.
Build and bend I, hand folded Epson Luster print. 41 x 32 cm, framed, edition of 3
Commission by Insights collection
Photo by: Silver lab
Who do you look up to?
My all times heroes, amongst many, must bee:
-Cubism , if you can call a movement a hero? The multilayered approach, describing shapes from multiple viewpoints, breaking down the overall image. Creating many new shapes and spaces from a simple banal stilleben, creating viewpoints for everyone.
-Gordon Matta Clarke and his anarchitecture. His amazing “building-cuts' ' where he transformed empty factories into site specific works, taking away floors, making holes in walls or in the amazing splitting piece where he split a house in two with his chainsaw. This is real time, real material collage, questioning architecture, space and urban planning. I wish that I someday get access to an empty factory to pay my homage…
-Bridgit Riley, especially her writings on Georges Seurat's drawings has been important for me. I find her engagement in the way we see and experience shape and color very interesting. Unfortunately I have never seen her pieces in real life, so we are talking about intimate knowledge through books, which of course is not the real thing. I will miss her show at the Hayward Gallery too, a real shame.
What do you look most forward to during the day?
During the day, I do a lot of admin, quite a bit of research, I also do a lot of freelance jobs like teaching etc. I do like these things, but what I prefer most of all is being in the studio. To engage in a piece of work, that is started, where I have an idea about where its going, but it will be a while before it ends. That time of the process is the best.
In my free time I have started embroidery, I inherited a lot of colours and felt I had to use all the many different tones, I have really enjoyed that and it actually made me come back to color in my art, in a new way, I'm very interested in tones and monochrome colours now.
Portal, 2016, wall installation, front, blue back print on special designed wall.
We built a house, The National Museum of Photography, Denmark.
Photo by: Torben Eskerod
Julie is represented by
Sous les étoiles Gallery, New York
Galerie Møller Witt, Cph, DK.