Katja Seib

Always Forward Never Back, 2017

Oil on Hessian

210 × 190 cm

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Katja Seib depicts lifelike reveries that have no clear cut beginning, or end. The visual cues found dotting the‘stage’ in the painting suffice for us to interpret details we may recognise intuitively: a silhouette in a doorway as in Milk and Honey; neon-lit lyrics ‘purple lips, purple kiss’ included in Stranger in Moscow. Another snapshot of life in this theatrical vein is Always Forward Never Back. Seib captures a man from behind, and we follow him walking aimlessly through the city streets. The lines converging towards the skyscrapers in the background lend the perspective a sense of energy: our eye is drawn to the dizzying heights of the buildings afar, we are caught and seized by these symbols of a thriving economy, fascinated by the wealth of possibilities they may afford us but at the same the alienated from them. The man depicted encapsulates this idea of cherished ambitions in a large city-yet curiously ghost-like here with no one save for the man. Anonymous, alone, he seems trapped in the midst of these spire-like edifices beyond reach. We follow the man from behind, stalking him as it were, wondering who he is, what the the destination could be. These questions shed light on how a particular scene, regardless how trivial insignificant it may seem, can open up plethora of possibilities for our imagination to wander and attempt to map one’s mind.

the artist

Born in 1989 in Düsseldorf, Katja Seib graduated from the Düsseldorf Kunstakademie in early 2016 and has been working closely with ARTUNER since then. Seib studied in the MFA painting class with Prof. Tomma Abts. She lives and works in Los Angeles. Katja Seib's paintings are complex and seductive; the coarse hessian fabric, that is her painting surface of choice, allows for a play of textures and hues integrated in the visual vocabulary of her art. The artist’s painting process is quite labour-intense. Firstly, hessian cloth requires to be smoothened with several layers of rabbit glue and chalk. Then, Katja Seib mixes the pigments herself, to be in control of the thickness and degree of coarseness of the colours. This way, the artist is able to enhance her paintings’ narratives on a textural level as well; the balance between uncouth and dainty establishes the tension of these works and guides the viewer’s eye from one character to next. Katja Seib paints exclusively in a figurative style, which allows her to develop alluring and mysterious narratives of desire and strangeness. The topic of dreams is extremely important to Seib. To her, the experience of dreaming offers to the individual a much needed escape from reality. Domestic settings coexist with bizarre situations; the everyday as much as the outlandish are flattened on the same surface and yet, there is a strange sense of deepness and space that allows the work’s existence to expand beyond the limits of their own frame; the contour of a body bustling in another room, a disembodied arm opening a door, or waving a feather, a cigarette’s smoke spiralling towards the ‘real world’.

Katja Seib’s paintings are complex and seductive. Painting exclusively in a figurative style allows her to develop alluring and mysterious narratives of desire and strangeness.

Katja Seib
on Artuner

Part of the

October 1st, 2017 until
December 16th, 2017
Curated by ARTUNER