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Top 200 Collectors

Black-and-white portrait of an attractive, young-looking
©PETER RIGAUD

Julia Stoschek

Berlin; Düsseldorf, Germany

Industry (automotive supplier)

Contemporary art, especially time-based media

Overview

Julia Stoschek’s collection of some 860 contemporary artworks includes installations, photographs, paintings, and sculptures, but the primary focus is on time-based media, specifically video works from the late 1960s to the present. Shown at exhibition spaces in Düsseldorf and Berlin, her holdings include work by Ed Atkins, Lynda Benglis, Joan Jonas, Pipilotti Rist, and Bill Viola, among many others. “I am naturally drawn to the moving image, and I consider it to be a defining feature of our time: constantly changing, never standing still,” she once told the BMW Art Guide.

In May 2020, with much of the world still on lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, Stoschek made the unusual decision to put sixty of the video works she owns online for everyone to see—with more to come in the coming months. “From the very beginning, film and video were driven by a democratic impulse and ideas of circulation that were supposed to enable access to art on a wider scale,” Stoschek told ARTnews. “I am following in this spirit. My decision is also rooted in the medium itself, which is theoretically infinitely reproducible and therefore undermines the notion of the unique work of art.”

 And the works in her collection aren’t just boundary-pushing in the realm of video and other media—they can often require significant alterations in order to be installed. In 2015, Monica Bonvicinis’s “Wallfuckin’,” a mixed-media installation from 1995, necessitated an “immense intervention” in the entrance area of the collection space in Düsseldorf. (She also made headlines in 2020 when it was widely reported that she might close her space in Berlin at the end of its lease in 2022.)

Stoschek balances her focus on contemporaneity with attempts to find the interrelations between historical pieces and work of more recent vintage. Does she have any advice for first-time buyers? “Follow your instincts and be yourself!” she once told Blouin Artinfo. She is also known to collect artists in depth, and has said that collecting is often about the waiting game. A 1999–2001 video installation from Francis Alÿs’s “Rehearsal” series proved an especially arduous acquisition. The series is inspired by the ancient Greek myth of Sisyphus shows steadfast subjects attempting to perform near-impossible feats, like getting a Volkswagen to climb a steep dirt road. The work “sold out right from the beginning,” she told ARTnews, “and I had to wait seven years before I could acquire it. I felt like Sisyphus myself during the process.”

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