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Print (MA)

Julie Kern Donck

Julie Kern Donck is a Belgian-Brazilian artist born in Brussels, 1992. She studied in La Cambre in Brussels and graduates from the Royal College of Art in London in Print in 2021. Her work assembles a unique collection of technical knowledge and research that ranges from early printmaking techniques to 3D modelling, installation, writing and filmmaking, with questions gravitating around uniqueness, globalization, trauma, and technology. She’s exhibited in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands as well as in the United Kingdom.

Working between Brussels, London and Amsterdam, Julie Kern Donck also teaches art and is active in the field of 3D illustration and screen print.

Space and time; history and geography. How to make sense of the past, and how to make sense of the world. My work is a jumble that tries to resolve a mess of our ages: what is globality? What is uniqueness? For most of us, life has been filled with the injunctions of being ourselves, accompanied with a strong pressure to perform. “Being oneself” equates to a form of the latest capitalist interface, body and mind. In a world where interconnection dives ever deeper in detail and intimacy, singularities are simultaneously revealed and threatened.

Memory systems do tend to retain the latest story in hand as something perceptually finished. A story written by the most hegemonic power. However, all the complexity of the past doesn’t go in a single direction, nor land in a stable and well-defined state of affairs. The reality is that everyone is confused, and that this confusion is unavoidable. It is this state of permanent, shape-shifting confusion, coupled with the pressure of appearing in control and the (highly selective) aversion for data or experience loss, that is interesting to me.

As an artist and a printmaker, I tend to use methods that require a certain indirectness, with the original gesture being cancelled, repeated, registered or controlled by the process itself. As a consequence, my work often presents a form of secrecy, encryption, or corruption: the original content isn’t available with immediacy and requires a certain effort from the viewer to go past the confusion to decipher and interpret what is in front of them. At times, the original meaning might well have been lost, and all that is left are ghosts, absences.

Perhaps there is something of a forger in every artist: I forge the clues; you do the forensics. However, I like people to keep in mind they have the right to interpret in the way they find pertinent regarding to their own experience. I research and document my forgeries the best I can… that might well be my method of investigating the world and retrieving my findings.

Memorial for Honeywell (crystal ball) — authentic Honeywell headquarters modular carpet, artist’s own hand plaster cast, beeswax, iridescent pigments, crystal ball, ABS 3D Print test puppy, rabbit bones, broken piece of porcelain, blue tarpaulin mesh, orange PP rope
Memorial for Honeywell (whore of the floor) — authentic Honeywell headquarters modular carpet, drawing master/matrix for all the whore variants in the dormant operatives series, tape, pins, glue

From January to June of 2021, I spent my time in the Artwell Residencies in the Zuidoost suburb of Amsterdam. The area is notorious for its international company headquarters, and we were located in the former building of the Honeywell company, still evolving across its old carpets and corporate decor, surrendered to abandoned parking lots where bunnies run in the night as well as hardware stores.

These two little memorials are made of the carpets and things that I did find around, or that have been given to me, as well as parts of my own body and a master drawing I used during the residency.

The choice of both organic, mnemonic and artificial materials stands as a sampled collection before the area is entirely rebuilt, following an accelerated process of gentrification in the neighbourhood. The organic elements in particular are confronted by plastic and industrial objects, as a memento mori of constant change.

Medium:

mixed media

Size:

15 × 40 × 40 cm
Global Eden - Total — A short film with the English version of one of the verses of Global Eden.
Global Eden - Ditch — A short film with the English version of one of the verses of Global Eden.

Global Eden is an ongoing collection of short poetic texts written in 3 languages: English, Brazilian Portuguese, and French. With no primary language of redaction, its privileged means of conveying meaning is through the use of imagery and metaphors, while letting syntactic contamination influence momentums and suspensions. The text is currently divided into two parts made from small verses with individual titles.

The themes gravitate around displacement, love, solace, connection, and violence.

You can have access to the full text by clicking on the "read more" link.

Medium:

Text, video
untitled (fuckinhell, mew, 2501, neko w heart) — beeswax, iridescent pigments & bronze powder on Japanese paper, 122 × 97 cm, 2021
whore1: rampant lion, red and blue — beeswax and iridescent pigments on Arches paper, 56 × 76 cm, 2021
whore2: rampant lion, pink, blue & scratches — beeswax and iridescent pigments on Arches paper, 56 × 76 cm, 2021
untitled (fuckinhell, 2501, 3 nekos with heart) — beeswax and iridescent pigments on Japanese paper, 122 × 97 cm, 2021
whore3: invisible, soft iridescent colours — beeswax and iridescent pigments on Arches paper, 56 × 76 cm, 2021
untitled (fuckinhell, kusanagi, 3 holland football lions) — beeswax and iridescent pigments on Japanese paper, 122 × 97 cm, 2021
crusaders horse2: iridescent colours — beeswax and iridescent pigments on Arches paper, 56 × 76 cm, 2021
global equities — beeswax, iridescent pigments & bronze powder on Japanese paper, 122 × 97 cm, 2021
mew — detail from back

This series has been my main area of exploration this year. Lacking the technical means usually necessary to a printmaker, I developed collections of drawings and images that I magnify and reproduce through punching patterns. The technique has been used for centuries to produce series of near-identical paintings manually and is notorious for having been used in Flanders and The Netherlands, where I am currently in an art residency. Typically, a dozen reproduced paintings would be executed by apprentices and a single one by the master.

For this series, I combined the punching technique with encaustic painting, also a very old medium, that allows me to erase and redraw or repaint a pattern indefinitely. It is possible to paint, melt or carve the surface to merge or superimpose images onto each other, creating effects of density, loss, superimposition. I also use iridescent pigments generally used for nail art, which, together with the wax, gives a certain magical strangeness to the final result.

In terms of images, I chose to pick and collect mixtures of my own sketches and images in a very eclectic way. Things that feel familiar, for personal reasons or simply because they have been hanging around in globalized culture.

Trauma can be defined as a memory that keeps repeating itself, a ghost that doesn’t cease to haunt its sufferer with fixated yet confused successions of memories, images, sounds and feelings. The repetitiousness of the memory loops does exhaust the sufferer, yet they are incapable of stopping that obsessive carousel. Figures of the past might lose their sharpness, they keep appearing under diverse forms in diverse moments.

As in memory, this process of repeating the same patterns over and over through the whole series of works has some familiarity with the traumatic circle in its strenuousness. If there are variations in the execution, the main patterns do remain the same, yet they might be obfuscated by novelties or different ways of being superimposed.

The work is also deliberately marked by the absence of hierarchy or of any clear logical association in the images it carries, be it in date, scale, object represented, or style. This apparent discontinuity is also meant to trigger confusion and attract the viewer to examine the materiality of the pieces more closely and see the density of the details.

Medium:

Paper, beeswax, pigments, punching patterns

Size:

various sizes
agents, effects, control — hardground etching on Japanese paper, approx. 39 × 50 cm, edition of 8 + 3 a.p. 2019
taxus, oleander, bunny, bull & 3 hearts, uwu — hardground etching on Japanese paper, approx 39 × 50 cm, edition of 8 + 2 a.p. 2019
browning fn 1910 — hardground etching on Japanese paper, approx. 13.5 × 16.5 cm, edition of 13 + 3 a.p. 2019
tales of ur heart — hardground etching on Japanese paper, approx. 13.5 × 16.5 cm, edition of 13 + 3 a.p. 2019
lion, snake, crown, moon — hardground etching on japanese paper, approx. 20 × 16 cm, edition of 12 + 3 a.p. 2018
each poison has its antidote — hardground etching on japanese paper, approx. 13.5 × 9.5 cm, edition of 12 + 3 a.p. 2019

A collection of etchings made like notes, unfinished comments in the dark. Narratives develop through the association of things, images and ideas. Drawings are bitten, mistreated by nitric acid, ferric chloride, the varnish has burnt, the plates have been carelessly carried, scratched, abandoned; their attrition is the sign of both their importance and their pointlessness.

Medium:

Hardground etchings on paper

Size:

various sizes
capital esprit — book cover
inside view
inside view
inside view
inside view
inside view

A comic book that tells the story of a first person shooter operative faced with telepathic existential threats and a silent transponder.

The title, imagery and quotes play around the notions of past and contemporary empires as well as video games, with appearances of the typical FN Five SeveN gun, the head of the lupa capitolina, a B2-Spirit bomber and quotes from Marcus Aurelius.

Read more by following the link below.

Medium:

book, cgi renders

Size:

16 × 20 cm

Read more

SPES