Introduction

Julieta Schildknecht is a photographer whose previous work covers a wide range of projects. It stretches from photographic reports, which document among others children prostitution in her native country – Brazil, to purely artistic works. This shows an essential characteristic of the artist: an engaged and inquisitive, but also with a creative perception of the reality of society, as well as of the art world. These do not appear as separate things – rather, they seem to complete, even to fertilize, one another. Her individual, unmistakable creativity originates in this unbiased holistic perception and, together with a strong will to create a broad stylistic vocabulary, results in her photographic oeuvre which in every fibre of its being is saturated with perceptible emotionality.

It can accommodate insightful black-and-white documentaries, such as that of the terminally ill in the Aids-Centre “Lighthouse” in Zurich, as well as the colourful London visualisation of a natural phenomenon, settled between an installation and its filmic disintegration. The stylistic diversity and technical skill reveal themselves in truly intuitive picture sequences such as “De Profundis” or “Shakti”, in which an adventurous artist brilliantly experiments with double exposures and other effects of the film. Equally, at the centre of her work is another series, “Portraits”, in which her genuine interest in humanity manifests itself. The sequence of these faces and figures, which follow very unorthodox patterns, points towards an existential interest in the fate of humans and appears secured in the biography, authenticity, and intensive charisma of the author.

Thus, her oeuvre is to be contemplated both in its individual themes and pictorial formulations as well as in its totality, which opens up an idiosyncratic access to and treatment of the outer and inner world. As a pilgrim between the cultures and courageous, sensual, and analytical lone wolves, Julieta Schildknecht achieves a contribution within the wider field of contemporary photography that announces individual strength, consciousness of human suffering and transient creative impetus and the respectively adequate artistic translation. The apparent diversity is actually the core of a touching message.

Guido Magnaguagno
Art historian, curator, author
Member of the Swiss Photography Trust