„(…) Take a small painting like A sun, 2020: at first glance it may look too quick but its toughness is what lasts. Just how fast was that light purple shape whipped into shape on the canvas’s rather gnarly ground? Why is the color of that ground closer to that of a sun than that purple shape that is shaped more like a sun? Was the ground-as-sun painted thickly to block out what looks like sky blue underneath? Nothing in the painting is just one thing, and one association leads to another, and another, and all the while anonymity is maintained. That, in the end, is the key achievement of Korneffel’s work.“
Excerpt: BOMB Magazine The Ongoing Present Moment of Making: Jule Korneffel Interviewed by Hannah Bruckmüller
No, no, no, I’m not painting circles! If I wanted to do that I would use a template. I did go through a period of intensely hard-edged, grid-based compositions, and I’m inspired by minimalist vocabulary and geometry. Yet my circle-like splotches mainly come from my process of intuitive scribbling. Not long ago, there were letters and numbers involved, but these somehow migrated to the backs and sides. These circle-like shapes remain, as I find them to be the simplest and purest mark for me. They are emotional footsteps: painting as tracing, showing that I’ve been here, here, and there—mark-making as internal landscaping.
You also point to direct life experiences in some of your titles. Would you introduce one of them?
Let’s talk about one that again relates to Smith and that’s included in my current show: Who gets the cherry? (2019). While reading Just Kids I was reminded of the personal separation I went through shortly after I moved from Germany to New York in 2015. Like Smith and Mapplethorpe, it took us many years to entirely split. I finished this painting while finally giving in to this new emotional state. One new and interesting aspect of Who gets the cherry? is the openness of its white ground. In these areas the brushstroke is loose and earlier layers are seen. Atop are two rounded semi-transparent marks with an opaque red “cherry” mark standing in between them. In this way the cherry is division and an object of attraction too: something at which the other two are looking. The sides of this work also carry more marks than my paintings usually do, emphasizing the process and claiming objecthood more strongly than my other works. This relates back to the title Who gets the cherry? because in material terms I associate this painting with a thick piece of cake—Black Forest cake. A slice of this cake has so much cream that it’s best shared as it’s too heavy for one person alone. But at the end of eating it, there’s only one cherry. While painting, it became evident that there’s no perfect, easy way to separate from a person. Saying goodbye hurts; it is frightening, and there is no fairness to it. It’s a long way to let someone go.
One of my heroines is Hélène Cixous who coined the term écriture féminine in her wonderful text on Medusa’s laughter. Cixous demands a self-reflexive, autobiographical practice: “Write your self. Your body must be heard.”
I can relate, because my artistic process derives from an internal dialogue.
I find that your paintings allow for contemplation in that they allow one to see—to take the time to tune in to the color, to the brushstroke, and to the painting itself.
Surely my paintings offer a fast and easy read; but, yes, they also offer that the viewer live them, layer by layer. It usually takes a long time to get a few marks in the right place, on the right ground. Some people think it’s easy and that all I do is just spatter around for a couple of minutes, which is not entirely untrue. But I also alternate between execution and contemplation—it takes time, like getting to know a person. Maybe my paintings are like human beings; they’ve inherited the ability to slow down and sensitize. And to also reach beyond time.