Julia Haller, Smile from the Streets You Hold, installation view, Secession 2015 © Secession

Julia Haller

Smile from the Streets You Hold

November 20, 2015 – January 31, 2016

Julia Haller engages with conventions and the history of painting, trying to leave it behind in her own work.

Her exhibition Phtata at Cologne’s Reisebürogalerie in 2012 presented canvases strangely distorted as though the fabric were stretched too tightly. Bulking out from the wall, they took on an object-like character, defying the flatness that defines painting as a medium. Working with thin translucent paints on primed canvases, Haller, who studied textual sculpture with Heimo Zobernig at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, had painted ornamental patterns based on elemental geometric shapes or fields that stood out from the backdrop.

The artist’s repertoire of materials ranges from bone and rabbit-skin glues across shellac, acrylic paints, and gouaches to iron-oxide pigment. In a series of small-format untitled works (2014) that were on view in the exhibition Passion at Galerie Christian Andersen and other venues, canvas painted with a deep black iron oxide is set behind glass to produce a strongly reflective and iridescent violet-blue surface in which fields and lines only gradually reveal themselves—almost as though they did not want to be discovered.

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Julia Haller, born in Frankfurt/Main in 1978, lives and works in Berlin and Vienna.