Julian Wild: Janus: Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

23 January - 30 April 2019

As part of our on-going collaboration with the Saïd Business School in Oxford, we are delighted to present Julian Wild, Janus.


Janus - the two faced Roman god of beginnings, transitions and endings - was understood to be able to see to the past and the future simultaneously, a unique perspective which give him particular insight into the present. It was this characteristic that led sculptor Julian Wild to borrow the name for the title of his forthcoming solo exhibition at the Saïd Business School. For the first time Wild has chosen to revisit and rework some older sculptures and show them alongside new and recent works, reflecting upon how his practice has evolved and developed over the last ten years.


Further to the reflective and progressive mood of the exhibition, Wild is also examining the duality of the creative process as expressed by Frederick Nietzsche in his theories of the Dionysian (playful/emotional) and the Apollonian (rational) sides of the creative mind. In Origin, his recent monumental public sculpture commission for The University of Oxford, Wild combined these ideas of rational and playful. Two halves of a geometrically ordered gateway structure gives way to the playful bent, polished stainless steel elements as the meet in the centre - stoic structure secedes to the organic and unresolved. This work celebrated the ground-breaking work carried out at The Big Data Institute in which complex data is transformed through creative and experimental research to develop treatments for serious illnesses. 


In the outdoor spaces of Oxford Saïd, Wild is revisiting some of his earlier large-scale sculptures which explored the seeming disorder of organic growth patterns through angular welded and painted steel, a material more commonly associated with urban architecture. To each of these sculptures he will be adding to and corrupting them in some way, adding playful flourishes to their previously ordered forms. On some, mirror polished bronze forms lie slumped and fleshy over the rigid painted lines of the sculpture, like a mushroom or fungus seen growing on an ancient tree, it’s objective beauty somewhat undermined by it’s parasitic nature. Elsewhere, two of his tall polished bronze Stripping the Willow sculptures reveal a vidid green core (echoing the verdigris of the building's architectural copper) as they appear to peel back their external surface. 


Throughout the internal spaces of the School, Wild will show new and recent works that continue to play with these juxtapositions and contradictions; architectonic and organic, order and disorder, stoic and emotional, regression and progression. 


Janus offers Wild the opportunity to reflect upon a successful career,  to take a retrospective look at past glories. Instead he has seen it as a chance to analyse and deconstruct his own artistic practice and to take it as a starting point to develop and move his creative process forward. 


Julian Wild lives and works in Sussex, UK and over a twenty year career has achieved critical and commercial success with work held in notable public and private collections. In 2017 he unveiled Origin, his most ambitious sculpture to date and the largest public sculpture in Oxford, commissioned by the Li Ka Shing Big Data Institute and the University of Oxford. In 2013 he was elected by his peers as Vice President of the Royal Society of Sculptors, a position he still holds. He is represented by William Benington Gallery, London.


For information on the curator tours, please visit the Art at Oxford Saïd Facebook page or contact lizzie@zuleikagallery.com