Katja Seib

Coming and Arriving, 2014

Oil on Hessian

210 × 170 cm

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Katja Seib’s paintings disclose themselves to the viewer like windows on someone’s private life. Notions of intimacy and voyeurism come into play in works like ‘Coming and Arriving’, where the audience’s point of view is incorporated by the painting itself. The body of the beholder seems to trespass the boundary between artwork and reality, extending an arm, opening the door on a couple’s intimate moment.

Akin to a dream, the viewer has no control over their limb: against their will they can neither close, nor open the door wider. The viewer’s complicity in the voyeuristic act strikes one as disorienting and surprising. Indeed, the immediate focus of the gaze is the colourful target-like rug at the centre of the composition. Only afterwards (arguably, too late) the baboon’s aggressive stare redirects the viewer’s attention out of the room, only to realise that the arm opening the door is their own. The absurd situation the viewer is caught up in mimics the non-logic of the oneiric experience.

The artist ascribes great importance to dreams, from where she derives much inspiration for her art. The narrative potential of her works is intriguing. Seib depicts familiar environments, allowing the viewer to establish a connection with the painting. By introducing bizarre elements to the composition, however, she suggests no clear plot, thus leaving the story to unfold in the hands of the audience.

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

February 8th, 2016 until
March 31st, 2016
Curated by ARTUNER