“Julia Phillips’ sculptures, installations, videos, and works on paper engage with complex modalities that consider how we look, how we see, and how we are seen. The means of looking—the eyes—come into serious focus as a device for seeing and for recognition. Other phenotypes are suggested through size, proportion, texture, and color, as well as literal casts of the artist’s body, to indicate one’s observable traits—height, complexion, gender—from one’s anatomy to how one moves and how one’s body behaves. These markers dictate how we exist in the world and how we are apprehended.”—Daniella Rose King
Energy Exchange is the first monograph of Julia Phillips. The artworks featured were created over the last decade, after Phillips moved from Germany to the United States, and reflect her interests in postcolonial studies, social belonging, diaspora, psychoanalytic theory, gender studies, and Black feminist thought. The decision to have all texts translated into the artist’s first language, German, was led by her wish to contribute to an exchange of discourse and of culture between the English- and German-speaking regions in which her work is exhibited. The title describes a conceptual framework: taking its cues from Phillips’s sculptural practice, it implies something transactional, referring simultaneously to physical, mechanical, psychic, and spiritual exchange.