In conversation: Julius Linnenbrink
Julius Linnenbrink on his first and last brushstroke and the hustle in between. From his studio in Berlin, the artist talks to Super Super Markt on how his paintings come to life, how they evolve over time and what he likes in other people's paintings.
The artist in front of his studio in Düsseldorf
SSM: What’s on your mind right now?
JL: I finally found a more permanent living situation in Berlin. I can’t wait to create a surrounding in which I feel at home and at ease. I missed that a lot in the last 14 months. Also, inviting friends over for dinner – I pretty much didn’t do that since I moved here.
SSM: Do you have a favourite time of day to paint?
JL: I really like the spirit of the day during mornings and evenings. Nevertheless I paint in the afternoon most of the time. But it started to shift towards the evenings, as the sun is up longer now.
when love leaves the house, 2022
Acrylic on canvas
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SSM: When you get to the studio, what’s the first thing you do?
JL: I turn on my speakers, open the windows and change into my work clothes.
SSM: Is there a shared source of inspiration that connects these new works?
JL: Lately I became fascinated with letters and handwritten text, though I am not interested in the meaning of words. For me the automatic, very functional and almost unconscious movement of the hand that creates a gesture is what fascinates me. In my process of painting that means I add a layer to the work, which reads different than the rest of the painting. Mostly I use white or another bright color and I pour the paint onto the face up lying canvas. The result looks almost nothing like words or text in the end. These often overlapping layers of white behave like forms or figures that create back and foreground correlations, which allow you to travel back and forth through the painted space.
SSM: Did your painterly process change?
JL: For the larger works you show right now I drew lines and forms onto the the white surface, in order to organize the space of the canvas. The drawing functions like a sketch that predetermines a certain direction the painting process will take. I wanted to intentionally leave areas of the paintings „blank“. All the white parts you see are the leftovers of that first drawing. I know it’s a common practice for a lot of painters, but my works do not refer to any sort drawing that I make before hand. I develop and shape the painting during the process of painting itself. For me drawing on the canvas is a very spontaneous act and all the decisions I make happen without planning. It’s a subtle first gesture before I apply the paint. During the painting process I can also totally abandon this first drawing. But all these new large works kept the spirit of it.
SSM: First or last brushstroke?
JL: First, last and the hustle in between.
SSM: What are your go-to materials and tools?
JL: I use pigments and acrylic binder to mix my paint, as well as the color tones you can buy. Other then that I use brushes to apply and work with the material.
ohne Titel (did I tell you about gliding pelicans), 2022
Acrylic on canvas
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SSM: Your current soundtrack?
JL: Binker and Moses new album Feeding The Machine
SSM: Do you have a favourite museum in Berlin?
JL: Gropius Bau!
SSM: What’s the last exhibition you saw that left an impression on you?
JL: I really enjoyed Sanya Kantarovsky’s recent exhibition Center at Capitain Petzel in Berlin. I have not seen his works in person before and I was surprised how much I liked them. The smoothness of some of the surfaces really worked their magic on me. I felt a lot of joy looking at them, even though the works thematically circle around death. There are so many beautiful details to be discovered in the paintings. I also found the colours super inspiring, as they are very different to the ones I mostly use. I really like brown, grey and all sorts of pastel tones but rarely use them myself. I also want to mention Asta Grötings video work Wolf and Dog in the group exhibition Looking Through the Trashold at Carlier Gebauer that caught me right away.