“Artists on Artists” is one of our favorite things at the Compendium, when we turn over the keys to Jewish artists we admire so they can share the work of Jewish artists they admire. This week it’s Julia Vogl and Gabriella Willenz, two brilliant interdisciplinary artists.
Julia Vogl is a London-based artist who makes public art and collective installations about the things that we, as humans, share and that make us distinct. Her “Social Sculptures” engage communities in the creation of colorful, geometric building-sized installations and giant murals. Her commissions include The Tate Modern, ITV, Facebook, and Jewish Arts Collaborative. Watch her TEDx talk and see her own work on her website.
Gabriella Willenz works in photography, video, and installation to critically interrogate how knowledge is constructed, delving into the mechanisms of how we get to know and relate to the world around us. Her accolades include a UC Berkeley’s ARC fellowship, an Eisner Prize in Photography, and the Bruce Geller WORD prize. She is an alum of both Asylum Arts and The Lincoln Center Directors Lab. Find out more about her projects on her website.
During the pandemic, Vogl and Willenz stepped away from the visual world to collaborate on a purely audio work—The Eve & Adam Project. This one-hour sonic artwork uses a feminist lens to deconstruct one of the most powerful myths of all time, combining radio drama, interviews, and a therapy session. The result is an engrossing, funny, and surprisingly moving investigation of the gender roles and power dynamics of the story.
This week, Vogl and Willenz share the interdisciplinary Jewish artists they admire and whose work inspired Eve & Adam: “We’re always searching for other artists that tell stories in a variety of mediums and materials—artists who unpack, re-write, and re-contextualize narratives to unveil other realities. We hope Compendium readers find these Jewish artists as thought-provoking as we do.”
Abigail Raphael Collins
A resident of Los Angeles, Abigail Raphael Collins combines experimental documentary and video installation to consider intergenerational experiences through a queer feminist lens. We were drawn to her series Out of Play, six videos that investigate the relationship between the entertainment industry and U.S. military—and both their relationships to truth and fiction. Her works create a layered approach to storytelling, using narrative, text, sound, acting, and documentary accounts, often in surprising combinations. Abigail’s high production value, diligence, and thorough investigation is the kind of work that inspires us to get back in the studio.
Eduard Freudmann lives and works in Vienna, Austria. His work uses performance, installation, and public space to critique the politics of commemoration and archiving. We found his full-length performance The White Elephant Archive (which we sadly saw only on video) to be an extremely innovative project. Using a projector, Freudmann displays the documents on the table before him—objects, photographs, and letters—to create an intimate narrative of his family history
London-based Sophie Herxheimer is a poet and artist who fuses imagery and text in her socially engaged projects and books. Her “Live Story Collecting Process” is an ongoing project, where an individual tells a story that Herxheimer illustrates live—in ink!—with the resulting drawing given to the storyteller. Herxheimer has made over a thousand story-drawings, often with people from under-represented groups—like care home residents and refugees. The process and outcome are empowering, demonstrating the importance of sharing for both the storyteller, the artist and the viewer. Currently Sophie is working on a book about how care and creativity intersect.
Brooklyn-based Jon Levin is a sensational storyteller—a performer, director, puppeteer, and theater maker. Levin established Sinking Ship Productions in NYC with Josh Luxenburg, together creating a world-touring production of Franz Kafka’s A Hunger Artist. This mesmerizing one-man show included audience participation, acrobatics, and puppeteering in order to question the relationship between community obligations and the voyeurism of entertainment. Next is a show based on the Greek story of Cassandra commissioned by LA’s Getty Museum.
Based in Toronto, Canada, Veronica Simmonds is a radio documentarian, podcast producer, and audio artist—and we think a guide to incredible journeys. Her piece Body of Water (co-created with Katie McKay) was quite an inspiration to us. It’s an interactive sound and visual work braided together from music, interviews, photographs, and illustrations. It brings all the empowering, freeing and rejuvenating moments of traversing water to the literal surface—after listening, we wanted to go swimming. Her many other artworks are definitely worth exploring with eyes and ears.