Luxembourg based artist, Julie Wagener, first started out as an illustrator. Soon the strictly commercial creation process felt artificial and passive and the need to work more on personal projects and find alternative ways to communicate through her visual outputs was gradually increasing. Eventually it was figurative painting that set the corner stones of a personal visual language and consequently helped manifesting her confrontation with modern day society. Julie Wagener has since created a small put striking body of work that treats primarily subjects like mental health and the questioning of the concept of ‘identity'.
I am interested in how the individual of the 21st century acquires it's notions self-awareness : the contextualisation of one's existence, the building of identity and the forging of meaning. In this context it is feelings of loneliness, distress, abandonment and alienation towards modern days society that represent the core subjects of my work.
The individual faces a complex reality which is hard to grasp and therefor not necessarily easy to live through, resulting in a society stunned by the impact of geo-political, socio-economical and environmental emergencies. Emotional detachment, apathy and feelings of helplessness are not rarely the more or less conscious reaction to the painful notion that the given conditions will not improve during one's lifetime.
Live in a perpetual state of anxiety and existential dread are nothing uncommon and the people affected by depression, burn-out, anxiety disorders, substance abuse and suicidal thoughts, are documented in alarming numbers. Experienced by the masses but most of the time lived through alone, the symptoms of mental and physical exhaustion, isolation and despair remain signs of weakness in a system that glorifies the successful, productif and happy individual. The ongoing stigmatisation and the upkeep of taboos and clichés inside of society, reinforce feelings of guilt and solitude in affected people and consequently block the way towards dialogue, empathy, acceptance and, ultimately, change.
My recent work translates these concerns as ambiguous representations and stagings of the human body. I provide minimal to no spatial context nor do I complete the storytelling by providing explicite narrative clues. Vulnerable, distant and tense, the portraits find themselves on the verge of anonymity - the individual is not attributed any specific characteristics as to make a broader dialogue possible which consequently makes the setting elude any specific interpretation. Opposing cold colours to a range of prominent reds and subtle greens, I put together familiar elements as to create disconcerting but nevertheless trivial scenes which radiate a silent and underlying violence.