Julie Born Schwartz

Julie Born Schwartz

Julie Born Schwartz’s practice is focused on constructing large scale narratives. They find their form in installations employing video, photography and sculpture.

My work is centred around the moving image and photography, and is inspired by anthropological working methods. My projects start with conversations and are typified by a strong commitment to people and the stories they tell. Each project develops through several years of research and field recordings, eventually resulting in an exhibition of video installations alongside connected text and photographic material.

Julie Born Schwartz lives and works in Copenhagen. She studied Fine Art at The Royal Academy Schools and Goldsmiths in London. Previous exhibitions and screenings includes; 12 Mackintosh Lane, London; Brigade, Copenhagen; Peles Empire, Berlin; Sixty Eight Art Institute, Copenhagen; Royal Academy of Arts, London; Galleri Image, Aarhus; Vermilion Sands, Copenhagen; Code Art Fair 2017, Copenhagen; Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt; The Museum of Religious Art, Lemvig; The Theatre Museum at the Court Theatre, Copenhagen; The Theatre Museum, Düsseldorf; Socle du Monde Biennale 2017, Herning; Union Pacific Gallery, London; The Photographic Center, Copenhagen; Kunstfilmtage, Düsseldorf and The Sunday Painter, London. Born Schwartz has been at The Mahler and LeWitt Studios-Residency programme in Spoleto, Italy. Received The Red Mansion Art Prize, Beijing, China. Commissions for; British Fashion Council, London; The Theatre Museum at the Court Theatre, Copenhagen; Opening Times, Digital Art Commisions, London.


Video installation with three HD videos / 30:00 min / 2018

02:44 min excerpt

Nestled in the remote town of Cascia, within the mountains of southern Umbrian, lies the Santuario di Santa Rita de Cascia – the resting place of Saint Rita (1381-1457), canonised as the Saint of Impossible Causes.
The film “Ex-voto” (2018) examines the legacy of Santa Rita (1381-1457), canonised as the “Saint of Impossible Causes,” through the daily activities of the nuns currently resident at the convent in Santuario di Santa Rita de Cascia in Italy. Over the course of two years, hosted by the Mahler & LeWitt Studios residency program in nearby Spoleto I became acquainted with the nuns and recorded their lives on film.

The piece also explores the connection of the twentieth century French conceptual artist Yves Klein to the saint. Klein was deeply fascinated by Santa Rita and left several ex-voto’s at the convent. When on a pilgrimage in 1961, Klein anonymously left an ex-voto to Saint Rita, a transparent perspex casket with three departments containing pigment for International Klein Blue, pink pigment ‘monopink’ and gold foil ‘monogold’. The piece was first discovered by conservators after the 1979 earthquake. The convent also received a Blue Monochrome painting from Klein, dedicated to Santa Rita. For a number of years, not knowing anything about the artist, they used the monochrome as a backdrop to their nativity scene. As Sister Maria Rosa Bernardinis describes, “I think Yves Klein would be happy to know that his Blue was used as the sky for our nativity. Blue for him was the divinity, it recalled something heavenly.”

“Ex-voto” explores expressions of faith in material and visual culture whilst offering a meditation on the nature of spirituality itself. The film incorporates other locations near Spoleto which have spiritual connotations, including Tomaso Buzzi’s folly complex in Montegabbione, ‘La Scarzuola’, and a submerged church, Chiesa di San Vittorino, used by Russian film-maker Andrei Tarkovsky in his film ‘Nostalghia’.

The Invisible Voice

Mixed media installation, HD video / 14:00 min / 2016

02:53 min excerpt

I used to work as a prompter in a theatre. I sat in a small dark room on the side off the stage. There was only space for a chair and a script holder that was lit by a tiny light, pointing down on all the lines and stage directions. I knew every line, every movement of all the actor’s bodies. I could only see a slice of the stage, so I had to listen very carefully. If someone forgot a line I had to whisper one or two words to get them started again. But not too fast, the actor could be pausing for effect, and not too slow for the audience to notice the mistake and thereby destroy the illusion.

The prompter is invisible for the audience and sometimes for the actors, but this invisible voice holds a great responsibility for the play’s unfolding. It is a strange position to be in. The actors are happy that you are there, but don’t like constantly being reminded of their own fallibility.

Love has no reason

Mixed media installation, HD video / 18:00 min / 2014

02:35 min excerpt

In 2004, I was living in New York, attending an acting course with Danish director Per Brahe. He works with Shakespeare’s texts and hand-made masks from Bali. Some of the masks are made from drawings of photographs of people. One autumn afternoon, in Brooklyn, I wore one of these masks. My whole body posture changed, as if something had lifted me. When Per asked me to talk (I was going to recite my monologue) I started to sing opera, which was absurd because I can’t sing at all. This experience stayed with me ever since as something I couldn’t explain. In October 2013, I went back to New York to find Per and his masks and made the video.