Katja Seib

Girl Leaving a Ghost Ship Party Secretly, 2014

Oil on Hessian

150 × 150 cm

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The notion of the ghost ship stems from a folkloristic chronology. A ship, void of any human crew, drifts through an odyssey on the sea. Katja Seib’s painting infuses this mythic thread with a hint of humour. A ghoulish female figure lurks away from an eerily white ship with one foot sinking into the deathly black waters. Like many of Seib’s characters, the protagonist refuses a direct readability: her expression veers between coyness, contempt and disgust without landing on one expressive proclivity.

As a painter, Seib’s work links personal emotional considerations with dreamlike sensibilities. For ‘Girl Leaving a Ghost Ship Party Secretly’, hints of our physical reality – i.e. the Chanel branding casually applied over the white handbag – mix with an oneiric and a fantastical flatness and figure. The eerie scene is pared down, with a reduced pure palette, distinctive blocks of colour, and a limited depth of field. It inspires a sense of bewilderment: we’re left to wonder what the waif-like form is looking back at and why she is wandering away from the fête.  Are we witnessing an ambivalent autobiographical self-reflection or a broader comment on alienation? Seib’s painting draws out the interest of the viewer through a familiar scene while distancing them through the representation of an emotionally-void lurking, ghoulish apparition.

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