Julian Charrière is a Berlin-based artist who presents his work in the form of sculpture, photography and performance by way of conceptualism. The changing cultural knowledge of the natural world and its processes are key mechanisms that are explicitly present in his projects.
“Charrière focuses on investigations of the natural world, revealing the profound force exerted by humans and the environment on one another and highlighting how ecological systems can exhibit traces of human energy,” as phrased by Artsy, the online source for fine art.
Charrière frequently travels to remote locations such as Kazakhstan and the Southern Cone in pursuit of inspiration and knowledge of the natural sciences, in addition to the attainment of earth materials which he uses to create his artwork. He often explores distant spots that are hazardous due to their exposure to natural disasters such as volcanoes and icefields:
“I use some scientific methods, but I would describe it more as an archeologist or geologist. I go into the field and get inspired by what I see, then I bring things back to the studio and do work.”
One of Julian Charrière’s most alluring projects is the on-site performance titled Some Pigeons Are More Equal Than Others in which he collaborated with Julius von Bismarck, another renowned artist, for La Biennale di Venezia (the Venice Biennial), the 13th International Architecture Exhibition that happened in 2012. Since then, Charrière and Bismarck have worked together recurrently, notably in 2016, to produce Objects in mirror might be closer than they appear, Desert Now and so forth. Charrière has had his projects featured by Das Numen, the Berlin-based art collective, in addition to his solo art expositions. He has had his work exhibited all across the world ranging from Europe to Asia. Several of his most recent expositions were located in the Parasol Unit Foundation for Art in London, Galerie Bugada & Cargnel in Paris, Dittrich and Schlechtriem in Berlin, Steve Turner Gallery in Los Angeles, Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne and the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India.
Originally from the district of Morges in Switzerland, Charrière was born in the year of 1987 and is of Swiss-French descent. He began his tertiary education in pursuance of art at the École cantonale d’art du Valais in Switzerland. However, he later transferred to the Berlin University of Arts in Germany where he eventually completed his studies under Olafur Eliasson’s Institut für Raumexperimente (Institute of Spatial Experiments) in 2013.
Charrière was presented with the Kiefer Hablitzel Swiss Art Awards first in 2013, then again in 2015. The prize-winning exhibition in 2013 is named after a quote by Buckminster Fuller: We Are All Astronauts on A Little Spaceship Called Earth. This project deals with current issues centering around the concept of occurrences that alters the relationship between space and time as well as their conditions with respect to the growth on a worldwide scale. Not long after, his piece was featured in a curated section at the Lyon Biennial of Palais de Tokyo. A year later, in 2016, Charrière was granted the Kaiserring Scholarship for Young Art. He was subsequently announced as one of the three artists who were nominated for the BMW Art Journey 2017 during Art Basel in Hong Kong. Within the same year, Charrière’s art piece was showcased in Viva Arte Viva, the 57th international Art Exhibition curated by Christine Macel for La Biennale di Venezia.
“To date, his works has explored post-romantic constructions of ‘nature’, and staged tensions between deep or geological timescales and those relating to mankind. Charrière’s approach further reflects upon the mythos of the quest and its objects in a globalized age. Deploying seemingly perennial imagery to contemporary ends, his interventions at the borderline of mysticism and the material encapsulate our fraught relations with place today,” concluded Julian Charrière’s online platform.
For the Armory Show that took place over the past few days, a number of Charrière’s pieces were featured under the Dittrich and Schlechtriem gallery. One of the two most exclusive sets was the Future Fossil Spaces – materials used include salt from the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia and acrylic containers filled with lithium-brine. It is an installation comprising of three hexagonal towers constructed by salt and plaster. The other piece was titled Bokbata II – Terminal Beach, 2016 and is presented in the form of a sizeable monochromatic photograph.