JULIA MÜLLER | Sudden Death

Opening: Friday, 31 May 2013, 7 p.m.
Exhibition: 1 - 29 June 2013
Artist Talk with Tina Bara, professor for photography at HGB Leipzig, 30 June 2013, 7 p.m.

I love you; I hate you; I’m so glad; I feel like dying: rarely are our feelings in as great a turmoil as during our teenage years. First discovery of one’s own ego gets it smack dab big into focus. Parents and teachers turn into bystanders, blurred on the fringes of perception. It’s all happening for the first time, all of it, and always totally and absolutely. 

Add to that this feeling of being unique and, by the same token, misunderstood. It makes you lonesome, but also superior and strong; too strong for provincial constriction. This is the time of partying at other parents’ homes, in their family rooms – in the hope they’ll really do return only on Sunday – and of attempted escapes you’d rather not retain a memory of come next morning. And on Monday your best friend slips you a note during maths class wanting to hash it all out once again. 

Those essential trivia, discussed during those endless school hours between weekends, recorded in dialogue form on notes passed to and fro: Julia Müller, guided by an early-roused collector’s instinct, kept a hold of them. And even back in the day a camera, too, was always around. Julia Müller pointed the lens at things whenever they turned exciting: with shitty optics, a shaky hand, and a nasty flash. In 1999 Müller rediscovered her treasures, stored in shoe boxes in her parent’s attic. During photography studies at Leipzig the idea came up to collate those scribbled notes and snapshots into an artist’s book. 

With handcrafted reflection copies, blown to size and color Xeroxed at a campus copy shop, Julia Müller realized the artist’s book Sudden Death: the snottily-punkish, yet dense portrait of one rural youth in the early nineties. Now, fifteen years from the first edition, and with a seasoned view on the matter, she has rearranged the book. Other things have moved to center stage; memories have shifted and mingled with nostalgia. Nostalgia not only for a bygone time in one’s life, but also for the scribbled note and the analogue snapshot that came as a 9 by 13 cm drugstore print. It is nostalgia, too, for a time before cell phones, Facebook, or YouTube. 

Minds carefree and lovesick, joy of life and world-weariness, the greatness of emotions, the embarrassing moments, and the absence of one’s clueless parents from the microcosm of puberty: Sudden Death shows it all with truly touching authenticity. Not only does the book reveal the very personal story of Julia Müller the student, it opens itself up as well to a universal perspective on those well-known, never-changing topics and problems of youth. Or maybe it doesn’t? Forget it then, it’s totally something else anyway.
Sudden Death | Artist Book

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