Julian Voss-Andreae is a German-born sculptor based in Portland, Oregon. In his youth he painted for a number of years, but then changed course and studied physics at the universities of Berlin and Edinburgh. After his graduate research participating in a seminal quantum physics experiment in Vienna, Voss-Andreae moved to the U.S. in 2000 with his passion for art rekindled. He graduated from the Pacific Northwest College of Art in 2004 with a BFA in sculpture. While still in Art College, Voss-Andreae developed a novel kind of sculpture based on the structure of proteins, the building blocks of life. Voss-Andreae’s work has been commissioned internationally and was published in journals such as Leonardo and Science Magazine, one of the world’s leading science journals.
My diverse interests, investigations and works as both scientist and artist ultimately have derived from a common source in my lifetime fascination with nature. Having started out as an observational painter in my youth, I was so intrigued by the natural sciences and its philosophical implications, that I studied physics at European universities for several years, after which I was fortunate enough to participate in a seminal experiment on the forefront of quantum physics and philosophy.
After finishing my degree in physics, I moved to the United States to study art. While still studying art in college, I started developing my main body of sculptural work inspired by the structure of proteins, the building blocks of life. This body of work has had a large variety of media coverage, including Oregon Public Broadcasting’s televised series “Oregon Art Beat”, the international art and science journal “Leonardo”, and “Science Magazine”, one of the world’s leading science journals. This exposure has gratified the urge I feel to share my enthusiasm about Nature.
As an artist, I am motivated by the desire to develop a deeper understanding of Nature than that provided by science: I want to gain a sensual experience of a world that is usually accessible only through our intellect. I take something I see or know and start translating it into an object. This translation starts out being guided by clearly expressible ideas and tends to develop into something successively complex and logically less accessible. The act of creation contains an extraordinary and most fulfilling aspect I find impossible to understand intellectually: These creative moments are not governed by my conscious thought.
The seeming absence of control in the act of creation does not entail absence of coherence or meaning in the result. On the contrary, it is typically the unconsciously contributed aspects, executed in a certain meditative state of mind, that brings the work to life, adding interlocking layers of meaning. The degree I allow this intuitive kind of creation into my work differs. It tends to be less in some of my sculptures with a clear relationship to science, and more in the portion of my work I create using a traditional approach, grounded predominantly in introspection. It is important for me to create a variety of work that ranges from almost exclusively intellectual to entirely intuitive, in order to generate a cross-inspiration between both approaches. Both intuition and intellect are equally important in my work and life. In fact, I feel unable to clearly distinguish between these concepts which are commonly perceived as polar opposites. An important constant in my thinking is the desire to unify such a pair of putative opposites into one single, more fundamental, idea.
My work reflects this desire in relation to this and other significant contrary pairs, such as the psyche and our physical body, life and inanimate matter, mysticism and rationalism, and art and scienc