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Complex narratives of intimacy and seduction often simmer at the surface of Katja Seib’s works. In ‘Diva’, a lounging woman focuses her gaze directly at the viewer in a pose reminiscent of Picabia’s 1940s nudes. Behind her, the background fades to black and white and ghost-like arms offer grapes and jewellery to the figure.
The roses in the ‘diva’s’ bountiful hair and the flower carefully placed between her legs are unambiguous symbols of desire and love; the reclining woman revels in her beauty, so caught up in her narcissism that she ignores the gifts the anonymous hands proffer. Her confidence is emphasised by her clothing; the nun on the figure’s t-shirt with the words ‘bad habits’ is a symbol of rebelliousness and defiance, but it also suggests that despite the beauty of this woman, she suffers from human imperfections like any other.
The juxtaposition of the familiar, colourful scene and the spectral hands is typical of Seib’s interest in oneiric worlds; this could be a dreamscape, in which reality and fantasy are entangled. This is enhanced through Seib’s use of colour; the woman’s shorts and bedsheet are deliberately painted with the same tie-dye effect to contrast with the carefully painted face and skin. This leads to an opening out of the picture, inviting the viewer in to the woman’s space.