Julia Walter

Love Color Rage Satisfaction

Interview by Marina Elenskaya

CURRENT OBSESSION:

On your info page it says that at the moment you are interested in:
Temporary Solutions
Functional Connections
Hierarchy of Materials
Reflection Reaction Results
Science
Fiction
Experiment
Handcraft
Quality
Reality
It would be interesting to see the “jeweler’s thinking” concerning these conceptions and how they affect your personal work, I’m particularly interested in the hierarchy of materials.

Julia Walter:

Since I live in the Netherlands I find myself surrounded by temporary solutions a lot. I was especially surprised and fascinated how houses in the center of Amsterdam are temporarily fixed and protected from bending over and falling to the side.I started a collection of photos that show the very inventive and proper way of building wooden structures onto the houses to prevent them from falling. Some of these temporary constructions hold a house already for years, they are actually very well made, out of big tree trunks and steel screws, but were only meant as temporary solutions.
This is professional improvisation! I like to transport this attitude into my work and to be able to fix something really quick, take a hammer and a nail and connect two parts, sometimes I cannot wait how long it takes to saw a piece of wood apart, and I just break it. When I am working very well, spontaneous actions cause direct reactions. The good thing is that I can hardly mess it up because there is almost always a possibility to fix things on the way to get to the finished piece. Sometimes paint, glue and crystals are my little helpers, sometimes time, a lot of time, has to pass until i know how to continue and sometimes I take my saw and cut some parts off until it works well. Sounds easy. Of course there is a lot of thinking involved in the working process.
Although i like my work to have the character of coincidence and improvisation, nothing works just by chance, well sometimes it does, but then it is luck. Most of the time I really know what i am doing and I try to find the most effective solution. The most simple solutions often have the most complicated thoughts ahead. The work of Peter Fischli and David Weiss, especially the Equilibres series of photography always inspired me. I am very closely attached to the beauty, poetry, parody and drama they create with ordinary everyday objects, kitchen tools, leftovers from their studio, old shoes, chairs, trash. They are the masters of improvisation! And they are the masters of action and reaction! I vividly remember the feeling i had, when i first saw their movie ´The Way Things Go´ as a student. It was a magical feeling, from then on I knew everything is possible.Their work makes me happy, it looks so easy, as if they just had a drink at night in their studio and started playing around, but in fact it must have taken so many tries to get the right shot. In a way, I would like my work to have the same kind of spirit, but then in jewellery.
I am interested in people wearing things. How they wear it, why they wear it, what they wear. I mean, I dont take it too serious, I think there should be a big part of confidence and fun involved, it is just interesting to look and to ask sometimes how it feels to be wearing one of my pieces. A woman who wears my work said, to her it feels like freedom to wear my jewellery, that´s a great compliment! This freedom is exactly what I feel myself when I work.
As a child I started making little collections of found objects, rocks, pieces of washed out plastic from the sea, fossils, wood, curiosities, shells. I neatly lined up all my treasures, organized by colour and never felt that a fossil would be more precious than, for example a piece of plastic. I believe that every material has a soul and that every material, regardless of its actual price has a very specific quality and beauty. Still I think there is a hierarchy of materials. If I, for example, build a form only out of wood, the wood stands for itself and can unfold its self-contained beauty. If I build a form out of wood and add a crystal, the wood acts as a supporting structure for the crystal, do I cover everything with paint, what happens then?
I like to examine combinations of materials, how they function together and support each other. I think that one material can lift another material up or lower it down, and it all happens in our mind.
If you stick a golden mouthpiece on a cigarette, it doesn’t make the cigarette taste any different but the feeling while you smoke it might be much more elegant.

C.O.:

The title of your current solo show is Love Colour Rage Satisfaction. What does this sequence of words mean to you?

J.W.:

While I was working on this show I realized how relieving it is when a piece is finally finished. Almost every piece went through each of these stages, Love Colour Rage and Satisfaction.
It starts with love when I begin to make a piece, the wood floats in a coloured bath to soak in the paint, a besotted search for the right combination, the right cut, the right position can cause a lot of struggle and sometimes I get angry because it takes so many tries, but it is a big and beautiful and satisfying feeling, when I realize that a piece is finished.
So that explains the title to my current exhibition, although Love Colour Rage Satisfaction could also be the title to my past 2 years..

C.O.:

There are constant symbols present in your work, like crystals, shells and branches. Materials changed from the PU foam to the light balsa wood, but the message remains… What are you saying/whispering/screaming?

J.W.:

I cant explicitly name a big topic. What I can say is that I like to set myself rules to be able to break them. That might be a reappearing thing in my work, breaking the rules that I had made up myself. And about the crystals, shells and branches:I was always fascinated by rather simple jewellery, like ethnic jewellery, especially from Polynesia. When I say simple, I mean the techniques are based on handcraft and it is possible to see the process of the making in the final piece. My grandfather is from Hawaii, and without ever having been on an Hawaiian island, since my childhood I am fantasizing about magic rituals of native tribes, and I have a very strong bondage to nature and to the power of amulets. Growing up somewhere in the south of Germany seems like a big contrast to a dream about Polynesian islands, but for me, this dream was always a very exciting source of imagination. (And nevertheless, even deep in the black forest you can find interesting cults of carnival and pagan traditions.) Of course it was possible to read and ask family members about this unknown part of my heritage, but besides that, I was always eager in inventing new things and also in faking things. When we where kids, my sisters and me went out in the garden to collect snails with houses, we painted their houses with watercolors and then set them free again. It was fun to see our neighbors debating about exotic snails they had found in their gardens.
That was the start.

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