She is more than an artist. She is the most successful URBAN ART artist in Germany. With her unmistakable handwriting, Julia Benz embodies the painting of a new generation. In her mostly large-format works she creates exciting and complex worlds full of dynamics. Abstract resolutions of concrete shapes and self-confident color combinations play an important role. “For me, colors are emotions. They shock and fascinate me at the same time. They constantly challenge me to mediate between the dominance of colors and the sensuality of painting.” For the exhibition in the URBAN LOFT, the artist will present her current works as well as a site-specific spatial installation. The exhibition is curated by Anne Scherer | The art agent Anne Scherer is one of the leading experts for young contemporary art and especially for the urban art genre. In 2017, she transferred the traditional gallery concept into a new, contemporary salon culture, in which she brings art lovers together for both public exhibitions and exclusive soirées with artists in order to promote art and at the same time the joy of collecting art.
Anne Scherer, Die Kunstagentin
“The finished canvas […] is the match won. But it does not mean that you stop. After all, a basketball player doesn’t stop after a game he has won, it’s all about the league, isn’t it?”–Julia Benz
“Many things cannot be planned at all. It would be such a pity if you planned everything instead of just letting it happen and look ‘Oh, what is there’? Not having to control everything while I’m painting gives me the freedom to react to what’s happening”, says Julia Benz. Looking at her work, it quickly becomes clear that she remains true to this credo of ‘just let it happen’. Trained at the Academy of Arts in Düsseldorf and the University of Arts in Berlin, her works were initially partly figurative, while large colour fields – in an interplay of figuration and abstraction – fill the background. Today, however, the artist works abstract. Since the end of 2017 she has completely dispensed with figurative painting. Instead, the colours have emancipated themselves as independent actors – just like she herself. “When I started studying painting in Düsseldorf, everything around me was figurative. A must, I thought. But my strength has always been abstraction. It took me years to get out of it. But on the other hand, I wouldn’t want to miss that time either. It was always very important for me to know that I could paint everything, so that I could then decide for myself what I wanted to paint”, says the artist.
Yet colours are what make her work special: young, colourful, dynamic, courageous and bold. But it is not about colours alone, rather the colours are in a permanent exchange and tension with the picture-inherent forms. “The one would not be enough without the other or would not be equally strong. It is precisely the clash and the struggle between forms and colours, between the contrasts and the different radius in the movements and speeds that is really interesting for me”, says the artist. Thus, the factor of time also plays an essential role in her works, and this on several levels. While the gestural forms and brushstrokes are very fast, the clear straight form – “actually the most boring part of the picture” – takes the longest. And these different speeds, the slow, the fast, the planned and the gestural spontaneity or even the mistakes that can happen, this interaction is what characterises painting for Julia Benz – “that is what is alive in the works for me or what is annoying or creates depth.” The artist explains: “If you want to paint a snowy landscape, for example, it is not just a matter of painting a white canvas. It is also about painting everything that lies under the snow, everything that is hidden. After all, this is the carrier of the snow, it gives the snow its structure.” And she continues: “I can say something, but the question is, how do I say it? What is behind it? And that, I think, is actually the interesting thing.”
©2023 Julia Benz