In Julia Winter’s double portraits the two personalities blend together, even if they come from totally different worlds. For example, in Young Lust, the face and upper part of the body of a young boy in a t-shirt covers an image of a seventeenth-century lady in a black gown. They differ in gender, time of origin, The boy looks quite self-conscious whilst the woman is decorous. She represents a social class that can commission a portrait. It is clear that the two images come from two completely different worlds. By presenting the two worlds in a single composite portrait the otherness is emphasised and raises questions about how we judge the other. It results in a hybrid picture that emerges from bringing together disparate elements. At a time when emigration has become a common phenomenon, we have to accept an ongoing negotiation and exchange between irreconcilable differences. In the media, we see a huge number of different faces and in our cities we experience new national and ethnic mixtures. By juxtaposing two identities, Winter composes two overlapping images of faces which is at the same time a play of forms, colours and perspectives.
Julia Winter paints men walking or standing wearing suits or she depicts parts of their clothes. It shows how important for a group of men the suit is as a symbol of power or prestige and even as a tool to display a certain kind of sexy attractiveness. It seems to be the outfit for the perfect servant of a system or organisation and it is a perfect way of concealing ones identity.
The type of man who is extremely hiding his own identity is the undercover. The undercover is the spy or the infiltrator who is employed by a system to collect data and transmit them. In our digitalized society we know how we are controlled by powers that infiltrate in our private life in order to control any kind of possible opposition or competition.
In the dialogue and the reworking of existing images and objects Julia Winter creates works of poetry in which past and present, male and female, power versus non-power play a role. By showing the cross-overs she visualizes how, in historical and cultural terms, these images are subject to change. Capturing the past by personal reconstruction is a recurring element in her work.
Yet, apart from the content, the context and the political messages, her work also reflects enormous freedom and pleasure in working with materials and objects. By the subtle juxtaposing and compilation of these materials and objects, Winter creates intriguing and persuasive visions. She is a master of compilation, reminiscent of a couturier who combines different kinds of fabric. She uses colour and materials in a way that ties opposites together. She enchants, excites, and by mixing seemingly discordant elements, she creates new and mysterious worlds.