Julia Stoschek's collection comprises around 860 contemporary artworks, encompassing a diverse range of installations, photographs, paintings, and sculptures. However, the central focus of her collection lies in time-based media, particularly video works spanning from the late 1960s to the present.
Julia Stoschek’s collection comprises around 860 contemporary artworks, encompassing a diverse range of installations, photographs, paintings, and sculptures. However, the central focus of her collection lies in time-based media, particularly video works spanning from the late 1960s to the present. Displayed in exhibition spaces located in Düsseldorf and Berlin, her impressive holdings feature renowned artists such as Ed Atkins, Lynda Benglis, Joan Jonas, Pipilotti Rist, and Bill Viola, among numerous others. “I am instinctively drawn to the dynamic medium of moving images, which I consider emblematic of our era: in constant flux, never static,” she once shared with the BMW Art Guide.
In an unusual move, in May 2020, amidst a world grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns, Stoschek decided to make 60 of the video works from her collection accessible online for a global audience. She explained this choice by saying, “From its inception, film and video have been driven by a democratic spirit and the idea of broadening access to art. I am following this ethos. My decision is also rooted in the medium itself, theoretically infinitely reproducible, thus challenging the concept of the unique work of art.”
The distinctive aspect of Stoschek’s collection extends beyond the realm of video and multimedia. Many of the works necessitate significant adaptations for installation. For instance, in 2015, Monica Bonvicini’s mixed-media installation, “Wallfuckin’,” created in 1995, required an “immense intervention” in the entrance area of the collection space in Düsseldorf.
Stoschek adeptly balances her commitment to contemporary art with a keen interest in exploring the connections between historical pieces and more recent creations. When asked for advice for first-time art buyers, she shared, “Follow your instincts and stay true to yourself!” Notably, she is known for her deep engagement with artists, often patiently awaiting the right moment to acquire their works. One remarkable example is her acquisition of a video installation from Francis Alÿs’s “Rehearsal” series (1999–2001), which proved to be a protracted endeavor. This series draws inspiration from the ancient Greek myth of Sisyphus and features resolute individuals attempting nearly impossible feats, such as coaxing a Volkswagen up a steep dirt road. Stoschek remarked, “It sold out right from the beginning, and I had to wait seven years before I could acquire it. I felt like Sisyphus myself during the process.”
In 2022, Stoschek gained attention when The New York Times reported that her great-grandfather had been a member of the Nazi Party during World War II. The article also mentioned allegations of her family downplaying its Nazi-linked history. Responding to this, Stoschek denied any association between her family’s fortune and Nazi ties in an interview with Der Spiegel. In response to the Der Spiegel article, artist Hito Steyerl reportedly bought back an artwork from Stoschek’s collection, according to Hyperallergic.