Julian Turner (born 1985 in Hamburg) is the second winner of the Kapsch Contemporary Art Prize, an award promoting young artists who live primarily in Austria. The prize was established in 2016 by the Kapsch Group and mumok and the winner receives 5,000 euro prize money and a solo exhibition at mumok, including a publication. In addition the Kapsch Group purchases a work or work group by the winner for the mumok collection.
In his first museum exhibition entitled why not, Julian Turner takes a pointed and humorous look at the concept of the display, forms of presentation in museums and elsewhere, and also various collecting processes. In the clean white cube of the museum, Turner makes allustions to public spaces such as Brussels-North rail station or Berlin’s central Alexanderplatz square. His exhibition focuses on questions like what do we collect, how do we collect, and why do we collect? Why do we exhibit? Or why not? Imperfection and playing with the unpretentious and ready-made are also always among Turner’s concerns. “The broken is always more authentic, you can understand it better,” Turner says.
Like an exhibited object, Turner gives his exhibition a display side and a back side. He gives just as much space to imperfection as he does to any polished presentation. A choreography of classical forms of work and display using presentation cases, objects on plinths, and pictures in the standard format 70 x 100 cm is complemented by a storeroom in which Turner places left-over materials and everything that was used in installing the exhibition. In this way the artist adds something chaotic, diffuse, and irrelevant to the museum’s institutionalized and hierarchical system of selection. This is an underlying game with the expectations of musuem visistors, who will know that such storerooms exist in museums but never think about them during their museum visit.
When visitors encounter this storeroom in Turner’s exhibition, this leads to a number of questions. What is the connection between the exhibition space and the storeroom? What is hidden, and what is displayed? It is this ambivalance that Turner is aiming for. The irony and the wit with which he approaches objects in their inherent structures also explains the exhibition title why not . This does not represent a question, but an answer to a question just posed: Why? Without explanation the why of making exhibitions is thrown back on itself.