Benjamin Stromberg

We do nothing to create making

Interview with painter Julian Schwokowsky

Based in Berlin Julian Schwokowsky is an artist who pays special attention to his gut feeling. This approach takes place directly from the beginning of his working process. “In my opinion I can learn from every person that I meet. It might be the kebab seller or a child. That describes pretty much my attitude in this world: I consider everybody as a possible role model. It is about a general curiosity that you can find especially in children. It can take place already when you decide to go another way home than usual, just to see how it looks like. Everything can be an inspiration in some way.”

It’s clear that he cannot implement every of his impressions or ideas. This is why he is confronted frequently with hard decisions which he takes intuitively. “David Lynch said once that those ideas you fall in love with are really special ideas. It’s a thing of gut feeling and then you will know what to do now right away. This is the difficulty: It’s possible that you have five or six ideas at the same time and they might be likewise great from a rational or functional point of view. But then you will decide just for one of them. It’s about an inner certainty.”

For Schwokowsky it’s not so important to teach the people or to present them something what is unambiguous. “Rather art means to me to release the people from their top-top-heavyness. My attitude is that art is something where you can turn off your head. At first you just have a look, even if you don’t understand it instantly. Maybe there is a visual stimulus and you find it interesting. Then you go further and here is the point where you leave the everyday thinking.” He lets the material often speak in its favour in order to generate emotions or irritations in the viewer. “Definitely there are two fields at my work. On some of my printings one can see a large and colorful canvas. I approach it because I feel interested in it. Then I go closer to have a look what happens precisely in this picture. Maybe I don’t understand it perfectly and I cannot arrange it in order. Those two things I find really interesting: First to let the material work by his own and after that there is the process, where  something happens that one cannot define in a clear way. For me that is the moment where art is happening.”

Glow in the dark – Julian Schwokowsky

Another important topic to Schwokowsky are free spaces. This is his method to enter the artistic process. “As it is generally known time is an important factor in art. You need a temporary free space in order to work artistically. The best ideas come when you don’t force the ideas to come.” In his opinion this subject should be high valued also in economy. “I like the imagination of a company that gives free spaces to the employee so that they can work on their own projects. This goes hand in hand with the awareness that the best ideas appear while walking or taking a shower. Ideas don’t appear at the desk where you treat yourself to be creative. We create free spaces or rather we don’t do anything in order to create doing. Phases of recovering are very important. Certainly we are no computers that can work without breaks. To deal with the time in a different way is essential. You need those possibilities where you can break out of the calculating environment.” Schwokowsky says that this break of routine and the creating of free spaces can already happen through apparently banal arrangements. “I look for things where I identify myself as a total different person. For example I just started to train Kung Fu – a physical art that is is also sort of thinking.”

The complete interview with Julian Schwokowsky in German language


Text by Benjamin Stromberg.
The interview was conducted by Dirk Dobiéy and Dirk Boettcher on 05/06/2015.
Image source: Julian Schwokowsky.

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