The young German collector Julia Stoschek has taken over Art Cologne’s entrance hall with “Das Bildermuseum brennt” (“The Art Museum Burns”), an exhibition of works from her 560-piece collection that showcases both long-established artists like Bruce Nauman and rising stars like Clemens von Wedermeyer. In less than a decade, Stoschek, a scion of an automotive parts dynasty, has become one of the country’s most visible supporters of video and other time-based media art —an area that many collectors have steered clear of in the past, but that may soon have its own section at Art Cologne. She opened her own foundation in 2007, in a former industrial building in Dusseldorf where she has mounted regular collection-based shows. Stoschek shared some insights into her collecting ethos.
Can you tell us about “Das Bildermuseum brennt”?
This exhibition looks at different approaches to exhibiting and positioning art, as well as at the overlap of spaces in which art is produced and received. In that sense it’s also questioning my role as a collector who has made her collection accessible to the public.
You started collecting in 2004. What was the trigger?
In 2002, I discovered Harald Falckenberg’s collection in Hamburg. His enthusiasm and the passion with which he spoke about art inspired me and reflected a way of thinking that I could totally identify with. That was the first time I thought that this could also be a way of living for me. I come from an industrial entrepreneur background, but so far there hasn’t been a big collecting tradition in my family. I’m really the first who started collecting professionally.
What was it that attracted you to time-based media and video in particular?
I collect video because I believe it is the medium of my generation, and it feels very natural to me. Video has always been an important source of inspiration. Many significant events in my adolescent life were captured on video. I love images and movement and the various contemporary camera techniques that artists use.
What are the governing principles of your collection?
I can’t answer this in general terms. I don’t stick to certain subject matters; the work has to move and fascinate me. My philosophy is to not buy only one or two pieces by an artist, but to buy multiple works that capture the full oeuvre and document their expression, process and development in depth. I’m also very interested in drawing connections between artists from the 1960s and emerging artists. I see how important historical artworks are to the younger artists, so this is what I’d like to do with the collection: essentially draw a line from the 1960s to now.
Many collectors still feel uncertain about video art and time-based media. Do you have any advice for a first-time buyer?
Follow your instincts and be yourself!