Julia Johnstone (She/her)
Royal Scottish Academy New Contemporaries: Selected Artist
“My research looks into the documentation of performance artworks and what could be considered as performative imagery. My practice is informed by provisional painting and drawing from my dreams and imagination… Quite often, a fox appears somewhere in there. You’ll usually see her sipping a g&t in a 1930’s power suit or a pair of 70’s flares – and always a pair of killer heels.”
A large scale projection piece featuring recorded performances of The Fox.
Director of Photography: Maia Pace
From my research in performance art documentation I have looked towards artists such as Marina Abramović and Yves Klein to understand the varying methods of recording performances and what constitutes as performance art documentation.
From my collaboration project with Eirini Kalogera, in which I produced and performed in the short film The Fox, allowed me to experiment with a range of materials, such as creating costume and prosthetics, and explore moving image to further critique the concept of performativity and open up other threads of thought such as narrative and cinematography.
From looking to the Bauhaus theories of architecture, and specifically the Bauhaus theatre productions where artists such as Oscar Schlemmer focused on the relationship between the figure and space, I began to consider the spaces in which performative actions happen. I began to use drawing and painting as methods to visualise imagined theatre stages and think through how a place can be performative in and of itself. I have a series of drawings/paintings titled 39 Moves in which I discuss the character of The Fox and the spaces that she inhabits. I critiqued this idea further by recording a series of performance events as The Fox in my flat, titled Fox At Home #1-#8 [available to view on my Vimeo account] which was a reflection on Lucy Gunning’s Climbing Around My Room (1993) performance piece.
The more I use the character of The Fox in my work the more her narrative comes to the surface. She’s pre-digital but industrial, and usually adopts fashion styles of 1925-30’s western culture. She’s very metropolitan. When considering all of these ideas I began to think of the places she could appear and how an audience could encounter her. I came to the conclusion that the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Art School building would be an interesting landscape for her to occupy. This building has a specific history that relates to similar ideas associated with performance art documentation such as reenactment (ie. being reconstructed twice over) and has a particularly industrial aesthetic especially with the scaffolding in front of it. I think projecting onto the Mackintosh building will activate the space and transform the building into a temporary theatre stage which has endured so much misfortune in recent years. There will be one projection event that will be recorded as live. This footage will be broadcasted at 8pm on the 12th June 2021, and will be available to view on the digital showcase from the 14th June 2021.
‘THE FOX’ SHORT FILM
A collaborative film project between Eirini Kalogera and Julia Johnstone.
A film depicting the transformation of a human into a half-fox half-woman persona.
Director of Photography (Super-8 Film): Lucas Orozco
Music by students at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Violinist: Paul Docherty
Trombonist: Symone Hutchison
39 MOVES (2021)
A series of drawings and paintings.