A self-proclaimed nomad once based in Paris, Julien Langendorff is just as much as a vagabond in a creative sense. From having solo art exhibitions around the globe to recording music in doom-psychedelic band Pillars of Fire, Langendorff definitely seems to be attempting to master every medium.
I've noted you are working on a variety of things simultaneously; what is your current focus?
Well, I had just been curating a series of events at agnès b. in New York as part of my show with the brand. It was a lot of work, but I think it came together great. I've had the chance to have all my friends and favourite people involved: Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, Thurston Moore, Jeffrey Lewis, and Genesis Breyer P-Orridge... I was really happy about it worked out.
My main project at this moment, however, is working on my next solo show in Paris. The space is pretty big, so I have a lot to think about and work on for that exhibition. I'm really focusing on the thinking process right now. Trying to find ideas for this new series—maybe mediums I haven't really worked with before—in order to keep things exciting, for me mostly. I usually grow tired of any kind of forms quite quickly.
You've done a few things with agnès b. to date; how did you make that acquaintance?
I met her at an opening I had three years ago in Paris. A cosmic encounter. She liked my work and invited me to show with Antony Hegarty at her gallery a few months later. I had been involved in a group show at her gallery a year after that called "Musique Plastique." Agnès and I hung out in New York for a week recently, and that was really fun. She's one of the most wonderful human beings that I've ever known.
"Goddess Fuzz Fantasy" is the title of your latest show in New York. What was your inspiration behind it?
I started it kinda randomly last year. I was bored one afternoon, and I sat at my desk and made these collages with all these amazing old books and magazines I had found whilst travelling in Buenos Aires and Brussels. The work only made sense to me after I created them, in some really mysterious, maybe mystical way. I guess it combines both some of the unconscious questions floating inside my brain and also an aesthetic I like but can't explain. It feel quite primitive and poetic to me; very tangible yet a little far out. The show is more about presenting a little bit of all my recent series, since people are not very familiar with my work here in America. I took the opportunity to present the different sides of me as an artist.
Sex and death seems to be permeating motifs in not only the work in your current show, but all your work which are you more obsessed with?
Depends of my state of mind. I'm a mood swinger. But both are very linked anyway, don't you think?
Well, death instinct pervades sexual activity. Michel Foucault wrote about this. There's this wonderful monologue in Jean Eustache's film The Mother and the Whore that I love so much, "When I make love to you, I think only of death, earth, ashes."
Are certain symbols or icons important? Your current work could imply they may play a role.
No, not really. I actually try to find my personal ones, when I make these more abstract, coloured cut-out collages. Though I have to say, a cross is really strong indeed. I like Christian aesthetics.
You constantly change your medium; do you have a preference?
I like to switch. I feel good with collages right now. I love playing guitar. I'd definitely like to work more with film, photography, and movies. The technical aspect to them scares me a little, though. I'm not really good at that.
With all this switching of yours, appeasing all the senses must be important. Is there one that you favour?
No, that's like, "Which one of your sisters do you prefer?"
Well… to rephrase, if you had to give one up, which would it be?
Oh, I don't know, I guess smell or taste? Maybe smell first choice, then taste. But then I would feel like we're all robots or statues or something. That sounds strange.
Let's touch a little on music. What songs do you connect with your art?
That's a tough one; I love music so much. It obviously changes all the time. I love the song "Drive In Saturday" by David Bowie, "Spiritual Cramp" by Christian Death, and "Indian Summer" by Beat Happening. My friend Leila recently gave me an album by Rowland S. Howard, and I've been listening to it constantly. Another friend of mine was deejaying in Brooklyn last week and played this fantastic tune—I need to ask her what it was. Maybe The Pretenders or something.
With you travelling so much, where have you been inspired and enjoyed most?
Athens, New York, and Rome. Berlin could also be added, but I can barely remember the time I spent there.
If you had to stay in one place forever, where would you choose?
I could never stay in one city forever, I think, but if given the choice, I'd choose to die in Rome wait, maybe Paris.