Julia Stoschek Is the Wonder Woman of Contemporary Art

As her art collection of time-based media celebrates its purple anniversary, the Berlin collector reveals the method behind her passion

Julia Stoschek in front of the “Kill-Wallpaper”, 2003 by STURTEVANT in the exhibition NUMBER EIGHT: STURTEVANT (4.4.-10.8.2014) photo: Sirin Simsek

10 years ago, collector and business woman Julia Stoschek opened her eponymous exhibition space in Düsseldorf, quickly gaining international recognition thanks to an ambitious programme and a glamorous public image. The opening of the collection’s Berlin outpost last year marked a new chapter in this art world powerhouse’s career. During a recent rendezvous with SLEEK, she described this experience as well as her opinions on artists, her distaste for certain attitudes and what makes time-based media so important.


Creating a balance between group and solo exhibitions is imperative to highlight a collection’s complexity. It’s always been my goal to acquire several works by one artist in order to explore an entire oeuvre. With solo exhibitions, you allow viewers to experience an artist’s practice on a whole new level. Group shows on the other hand are great because they favour cross-generational references. This dialogue be- tween older and newer works links Destroy She Said (the collection’s first show in 2007) and Generation Loss (the jubilee exhibition, currently on view in Düsseldorf). The topic of destruction is inherent to both, in the sense that it is to be understood as a chance to generate reconstruction.


We opened the Berlin space because the city is Germany’s most relevant cultural junction, but mostly it gives me the opportunity to be close to artists. The Berlin public is very international, and so my collection is now available to the largest possible audience. As a capital Berlin also offers different possibilities to the Rhineland. Ten years ago, every- body came here, and people ask me, “What, you’re going to Düsseldorf?” But I never regretted that step. There are many artists who are happy to be exhibited in Düsseldorf!

Julia Stoschek photo: Sirin Simsek


You always have to wait for history to be written, but I am convinced of time-based media’s historical relevance. There is no biennial, no large group show in which it isn’t present. The artists I collect will have their place in art history.

Passion is indispensable for collecting. If you’re not having fun with it, then I don’t know how a private collection can convey emotionality and therefore have its own profile. I’ve got the luck to have closed one of the art world’s last gaps with my specialisation in time-based media. Insofar, I think that a good private collection always distinguishes itself by a personal profile.

Artists I currently follow are – among others – Bunny Rogers, Arthur Jafa, John Rafman and Rachel Rose. Her works en- thrall me again and again. She definitely is someone of whom we’ll hear a lot in the upcoming years. With Arthur Jafa, we’re planning our next show in Berlin.

Julia Stoschek photo: Sirin Simsek


Anne Imhof’s German pavilion was definitely one of this year’s big highlights. The collection supported the piece and we want to work with the artist in the future. Wolfgang Tillmans at Fondation Beyeler in Basel was spectacular… but then Wolfgang always is. I really liked Skulptur Projekte Münster, but was disappointed by documenta. I find this refusal of any aesthetics linked to joy or beauty rather difficult. The MoMA board came to our 10-year-jubilee completely demolished by Kassel, but Münster put them in a better mood.

What always bothered me about the art word is arrogance and pseudo-intellectuality. I very consciously distance myself from that, which isn’t hard, because in the end you can always choose with whom you want to work. Additionally, I find that nowadays there are too many events. This rushing and racing from one biennial or fair to the next… the confrontation with artistic content just vanishes. That’s simply the wrong way.


I interpret the fleeting nature of time-based media as a signature of our times. There’s no other art form that reproduces a dynamic so close to life.

Making the works available to an international audience is a pillar of my collection’s concept. My desire would be to have it go to America. qualitative continuity is extremely important to me, and comes with a lot of effort. It will certainly take time but it’s definitely something that’s in my head.

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