Born in 1990 in Bogotá, Columbia, Julie Wagener lives and works in Luxembourg. After graduating in the plastic arts section and studying illustration in Brussels, she made it her profession in 2015. Julie uses a visual language of symbolism and inspiration from folklore, myths and legends, film history and art. With a penchant for the macabre and occult, her paintings often show a sad or mysterious mood. By endowing her drawings with meticulous and intriguing details, she hopes to create unusual images that surprise those who take the time to discover them.
In her work, the artist is interested in the construction of the Selbst-Verständnis (Self-understanding) of the 21st century individual: the contextualization of existence, the fabrication of identity and the appropriation of meaning. In this context, it is the loneliness, the feelings of distress, abandonment, and alienation of the individual in the face of our society that are central to the artist's painting.
The individual is faced with a reality that is difficult to define and consequently not easy to live with. The result is a society stunned by the magnitude of the global situation and its geopolitical, economic, and environmental crises, which provokes emotional detachment, apathy, feelings of powerlessness and disorientation. The inability or impossibility to change or adapt to the existing conditions imposed by the system leads to alienation and identity conflicts. Existential anguish arises from trying to understand one's reality or just managing one's daily life.
Depression, burn-out, insomnia and anxiety disorders and suicide always face a huge social stigma. Experienced by the masses but most often suffered alone, symptoms of exhaustion, isolation or despair remain signs of weakness in a system that glorifies the successful, active and engaged individual. The persistent taboo within society reinforces the feeling of guilt and loneliness among those concerned and thus blocks the way to empathy, dialogue and acceptance.
Despite the absence of any aggressive or agitated elements, even bordering on an area of calm and innocence, the depicted scenes evoke an underlying violence - an unease that is reflected in the pale, almost corpse-like skin tones. Combined with the white fabric, the paintings evoke death and the disintegration of the living body. Alongside these symbols, emptiness takes hold and becomes an integral element of the composition.
In 2021 Julie Wagener was the winner of the Revelation Prize of the Cercle artistique luxembourgeoisDownload artist'CV