Julia Oschatz

A Head Ahead

02.05 – 11.06.2014

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Galerie Mikael Andersen is proud to present Julia Oschatz’s solo exhibition A Head Ahead, Oschatz’s third exhibition in the gallery.

 

The exhibition presents a new series of works called adorP which Oschatz has been working on for the last three years. The series includes paintings, drawings and video works. All the pieces are related to a number of old master paintings in the Prado Museum, Madrid. Oschatz began by choosing paintings by some of art history’s great painters such as Brueghel, Velázquez, Ribera, Zurbarán, Goya, and Titian and from this created her own narratives and images.

 

The relationship between Oschatz’s work and the work of the old masters are sometimes clear and at other times more obscure; they can be both thematically as well as formally linked. The associations between the different works are in other words free and cannot be anticipated by a specific praxis. This prevents the works from being self-contained and opens them up instead of closing them around a meticulously worked through process. This concept is reflected in how the works are humorous, yet never ironic or sarcastic, which would distance them from their source images and make them unnecessarily snide. Oschatz’s works, rather, express a genuine and wholly sincere as well as unpretentious engagement with her sources.

 

One of the chosen paintings from the Prado is Jusepe de Ribera’s Jacob’s Dream from 1639, depicting the story from the Old Testament of Isaac and Rebekah’s son Jacob who has to flee his older brother Esau.  At night Jacob lies down to sleep and in his dream he has a vision of a ladder connecting earth and heaven. The mystic theme of godly visions was popular in art in 17th century catholic Europe and especially in Spain. At first glance these images might seem to show the worldly sphere as purely an illusion which should not be trusted and essentially left behind together with corporeal senses. It can, however, also be argued that these images of visions re-instil the idea of the world as reality as the visions only occur through a bodily encounter with the world. The visionary can therefore be said to be sent further back to earth through their vision.

 

In the same manner the figures of Oschatz’s works are put into the world and interact with it. The characters in Oschatz’s videos might have blurred vision and behave in a naïve manner, but they none the less engage with the world through their actions.

 

In several of her drawings and paintings Oschatz will take a detail of a scene from a classical painting and involve a figure of her own. Together with the figures in the videos they interact and engage with the sources and the materials they deal with. If we take a step back Oschatz’s body of work reminds us that art is a way for one to engage with the world. As a creator as well as a spectator of art we are able to put ourselves into reality and take on the world and its history.

 

Julia Oschatz (b. 1970) lives and works in Berlin. She will in November be awarded the prestigious Hannah-Höch-Förderpreis, along with which she will present an exhibition at Berlin’s Kupferstichkabinett (Museum of Prints and Drawings). Previous institutional solo presentations include: Kemper Art Museum, Kansas City (US), Kunsthalle Lingen , Kunstverein Ulm.