The third room of the gallery has a different energy than the other spaces. It has served as a “project space” for formats like Third Room or Im Zeichenraum, has hosted exhibitions curated by artists and curators alike, and is a passage to the “Queen’s den”, our actual storage and the library. Its main feature is the freestanding staircase at the gallery, designed by famous Austrian architect Luigi Blau, which Julian Turner overbuilt with an unusual replica of the oil refinery Schwechat, near Vienna. As is common in his practice, none of the above mentioned is really of importance to Julian Turner’s work – although it is exactly the point for understanding his artistic approach. The collages, models, material imitations and often repeated tropes like food, architecture and technics are appropriated from everything the artist finds interesting, planted into the spaces they inhabit and charged with new meaning via his typical signature, which may be described as amateurish in the best sense of the word. Not the perfect model, but the image of the model, executed sufficiently so it can be understood as such at once, is enough for Julian Turner. The well shaken mélange of cakes, bottles, cookbook pages, and a board from Austrian architect Hermann Czech’s Wunder-Bar – who, and here is one direct link, was a fellow student of Luigi Blau’s – therefore accumulates to a celebration amidst the imagery of ecological sin. Happy anniversary to us!
Reviewed by Caroline Lillian Schopp in Artforum International, April 2020