A overview on Julia Stoschek time-base art collection


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Artists have always gone hand in hand with the time they lived in, making use of the tools and advantages that each era provides. Thus from the 1920s, they started to use photography and video cameras to create their artworks. In the 1960s and 1970s performances and happenings also flooded the art scene. All these new categories involve time and space, movement, that is why the German collector Julia Stoschek calls, very adequately, her collection time-base art collection.

The photography, and after, the image in motion were the great “discoveries” of the beginning of the 20th century. At least in the field of images. And images are inherent to the artistic representation since the very beginning of the times. Everything changed when men could do photographs and films. Artists using traditional mediums as painting and sculpture started to question the need to reproduce “reality” or what the eye could see. Avant-garde artists began to develop new artistic languages in favor of more emotional and expressive languages. Walter Benjamin, talked about “auratic” characteristics of unique artworks and speculated with what will be the role and importance of technology —especially photography— and reproducibility in art images. Once all this and more have been assimilated, photo, film, and performance are part of mainstream art representations and nowadays artists use all kinds of technology and digital media to approach their productions.

In line with the times we live in, times of isolation and online exhibitions, the Julia Stoschek art collection, one of the largest private collections time-based media art in the world, strives to advance the consistent democratization of this art form making its collection of over 860 works by 282 artists available online for free and without any restrictions. The collection’s spectrum ranges from early works, such as by Barbara Hammer, the pioneer of queer cinema in the 1970s, to recent works by Jon Rafman, who grapples with the depths of the Darknet.

Front photo: From left to right/top to bottom line: 1: the Estate of Barbara Hammer. 2: Basel Abbas & Ruanne Abou-Rahme. 3: Cao Fei. 4: Christian Jankowski. 5: Jen DeNike. 6: John Bock. 7: Jon Rafman. 8: Kate Gilmore. 9: Lutz Mommartz. 10: Manuel Graf. 11: Monica Bonvicini. 12: Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg. 13: Peter Fischli & David Weiss. 14: Tobias Zielony. 15: Beatrice Gibson. 16: Wolfgang Tillmans.

About Julia Stoschek

Julia Stoschek was born in 1975, the daughter of Michael Stoschek, a German billionaire businessman, chairman of Brose Fahrzeugteile, the German car parts company founded by her great grandfather Max Brose, a military in Nazi Germany. Stoschek first began buying art in 2002, mainly European and US artists working from the 1960s onwards. Her collection includes video, multi-media environments, sound, computer and internet-based installations, and performance. 

Very connected to Klaus Biesenbach who is the former director of MoMA PS1 and Chief Curator at Large at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City and also the founding director of Kunst-Werke (KW) Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin; Julia Stoschek is a Member of the Board of Trustees at MoMA PS1; Member of the Board (since 2015) at Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art. When Biesenbach moved to California as director of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA), the art collector since 2018 became also a Member of the Board of Trustees at MOCA. In addition, she is a Member of the International Council (since 2015) at Tate London.

Patron Julia Stoschek and her collection co-sponsored two exhibitions in the German Pavilion at the Venice Biennale: Fabrik (2015) curated by Florian Ebner and Faust (2017) by Anne Imhof.

About the Collection

Established in 2002, the JSC has grown to be an expansive collection of time-based art spanning film, video, sound, performance, and computer & software-based works. At present, the artworks and the contemporary artists across genres and generations offer an overview of time-based art from the 1960s to today with a strong focus on works made after 2000.

The term time-based art (or time-based media) describes works of art that unfold in time. Time-based art, therefore, encompasses all artworks in which duration is a dimension and comprises film, video, single- and multi-channel video installation, slide installations, multimedia environments, sound, performance, computer, and software-based artworks such as virtual and augmented reality and other forms of technology-based art. These works are often allographic, meaning they are only visible when installed or projected.

JSC early expanded cinema, video, and performance works by pioneers Bruce Nauman, Anthony McCall, Joan Jonas, or Marina Abramović to meet Doug Aitken’s video installations, Ian Cheng’s live simulations, and Hito Steyerl’s all-encompassing environments.

The collection contains many artworks by pioneering female and feminist artists and experimental filmmakers from the 60s and 70s, among them Dara Birnbaum, Valie Export, Barbara Hammer, and Hannah Wilke. A younger generation of artists includes Ed Atkins, Loretta Fahrenholz, Cyprien Gaillard, Josh Kline, Jon Rafman, Rachel Rose, Mika Rottenberg, Anicka Yi, and Tobias Zielony, to name a few.  The collection strives to build sustainable relationships with artists and galleries, focusing on key works and groups of works made throughout artists’ careers, growing with and reflecting their evolving practice.

Collection Sites: Düsseldorf and Berlin

The Julia Stoschek Collection (from now JSC) is located in a former industrial building in Düsseldorf-Oberkassel and it was opened in 2007. It has two floors of exhibition space and over 2.500 square meters. There are two cinemas equipped to screen 16mm and 35mm films in their original format.

In 2016, the JSC opened a satellite exhibition space in the former Czech cultural center in Berlin.

Twenty-seven large-scale exhibitions have taken place at the collection’s exhibition spaces in Düsseldorf and Berlin since 2007.

Breaking news: Berlin gentrification and Julia Stoschek art private collection

That she has made a substantial selection of her moving image collection available online is not a fortuitous move by Julia Stoschek, with news that rent increases may cause the closure of the Berlin site. On May 10th, the German newspaper Welt wrote that Stoschek’s landlord is now asking for a considerable rent increase in light of renovations made to the building, putting the non-profit private institution at risk. It’s not a fait accompli however and Stoschek took to social media to say that there are still a few more crucial conversations to be had. Another fait accompli, some art scene people say that the billionaire could set up her new headquarters in Los Angeles, where Biesenbach is also based at the moment. Nevertheless, this is just a rumour.

JSC Collection Concept

The JSC is characterized by an ever-growing technological convergence and interdisciplinary approach. Bringing the fields together, the collection is unique in its heterogeneity, but certain themes still manifest across the collection, in works that address sociopolitical questions; identity politics; forms of narrative, fiction, and documentary; the body and representation; performativity and performance; the gaze; and the relationship between our built environment and the natural world. Thus, the complete contemporary thematic suit!

Some of these themes have been explored in exhibitions and programs in Düsseldorf and Berlin, as well as at several international institutions. Among these were significant solo exhibitions by Derek Jarman, Sturtevant, Elizabeth Price, Ed Atkins, Frances Stark, Trisha Donnelly, Cyprien Gaillard, or Ian Cheng.

The first large-scale group exhibition at the collection, Number One: Destroy, She Said (2007–08), was named after a video installation by artist Monica Bonvicini and loosely explored the relationship between interior and exterior, construction and destruction. “Many of the works in this collection construct multi-temporal worlds; they harbor not one flow of events, but a labyrinth of diverging paths, each with its own pace and temporality. The collection is thus a complex archive of temporalities, storing passed moments and layers of time that can be technically repeated, in principle an infinite number of times”, says Daniel Birnbaum, in his text Repetitions, for the catalogue Number One: Destroy, She Said.

Number Two: Fragile (2008–09) focused on the body and corporeality, bringing together video, performance, and body art. Number Three: Here and Now (2009–10) was dedicated solely to performance and the ephemeral, with performances and concerts by some of the most prominent contemporary artists working today scheduled all year long. Some years later, Number Six: Flaming Creatures (2012-2013) —inspired by the eponymous scandal-sparking film by US underground artist Jack Smith— is a surrogate for something that manifestly materializes as an extreme, excessive and exuberant element in the positions taken by the individual artists. And Number Thirteen: Hello Boys (2015–16) revisited performance and feminist video, questioning the representation of female identity and the performance document.

To celebrate its tenth anniversary, the JSC invited artist Ed Atkins to curate a group exhibition in Düsseldorf, which he called Generation Loss (2017). The title refers to the process of quality deterioration as data carriers are copied successively and, at the same time, to the social upheavals from one generation to the next.

The inaugural exhibition in Berlin, Welt am Draht (2016), addressed the influences and shifts in our social reality, identities, and environment effected by processes of digitalization. Another group show, Jaguars and Electric Eels (2017), explored notions of indigeneity, hybrids and synthetic forms of life, the migration of the species, and our constantly changing perceptions of reality.

Large-scale solo presentations supplement the collection exhibition program. In 2018, the Berlin site, presented a comprehensive exhibition A Series of Utterly Improbable, Yet Extraordinary Renditions by Arthur Jafa, his first in Germany.

Exhibitions walk through here in this link.

Online Collection

The online collection catalogue can be used to search all the works and the artists in the collection for research purposes. The individual works are presented against a black background that is reminiscent of the black-box situation of a gallery. Additional information on the works is provided including illustrations and introductions in German and English. Installation shots also give an indication of how the artists intended the works to be presented in an exhibition. The website creates a presentation space beyond a visit to an actual museum.

To date, over 68 film and video-based works by 25 artists from the collection can be viewed entirely in the online catalogue on the web page www.jsc.art. Viewers can already experience over 15 hours of film and video art on our website. Among the works in this first selection are pieces by Colin Self, Peter Fischili & David Weiss, Meriem Bennani, Dorota Gawęda & Eglė Kulbokaitė, Basel Abbas & Ruanne Abou-Rahme, John Bock, Monica Bonvicini, Keren Cytter, Jen DeNike, Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg, Cao Fei, Kate Gilmore, Christian Jankowski, Jesper Just, Lutz Mommartz, Elizabeth Price, Wolfgang Tillmans, Andro Wekua, Sophia Al-Maria, Sigalit Landau, Taryn Simon, and Tobias Zielony.

Over the next months, videos and films will be continually uploaded and made accessible online. They are accompanied by explanatory texts about the works. As a maximum of 15% of the collection can be displayed at the same time at the collection locations in Düsseldorf and Berlin, this online initiative allows the works to be seen.

Due to the audiovisual component, time-based media art is predestined for viewing on a computer, tablet, or smartphone. The aim of this initiative is to reach people who are still unfamiliar with this art form. The collection’s long-term goal is to make the entire collection available online, thus creating a platform for time-based art that supports the accessibility and engagement of time-based art.

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