Katja Seib

Don’t open up the window and let out the antidote, 2017

Oil on Cotton

160 × 160 cm

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Seib’s works are effectively quite cinematic: like extracts from a thriller film, the scenes she paints resemble fragments of a somewhat disquieting story which our imagination can piece together. Girl Leaving a Ghost Ship Party Secretly (2014) for example epitomises this kind of ambiguity, and draws a parallel with Don’t Open Up the Window and Let Out the Antidote. Both beg the question: ‘what occurred before? what will happen next?’ We can perceive a dynamic of glances that is characteristically voyeuristic: in the same room, one woman, one man, the latter gazing at her incognito. She is standing at a window, the curves of her body like a magnet to his eyes – seated in the foreground at a perfect angle from which to look at her with ease: Crucially, she does not look back at him and instead stands a few meters away at a window. Seib tactically employs the trope of ‘seeing’ and ‘being seen’, fused with notions of lust, seduction and femininity. While in ‘If not, not’ the gaze between both characters was mutual, the lack of reciprocity here sets the stage to secretly watch at leisure. Who is the voyeur par excellence in this situation? is it the man checking out the woman’s behind? Or could it actually be – dare one say – the viewer?

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