Katja Seib

I Been Busy Thinking About That but, Kiss My Airs, 2016

Oil on Hessian

77 × 76 cm

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The defiant title of Katja Seib’s work is characteristic of the balance between seriousness and wry humour in her practice. The slogan ‘kiss my airs’ is from a famous Nike advertising campaign; used here it is light relief for a grave topic.

The work depicts a grungy tiled background with recognisable landmarks of Paris, Ankara and Brussels, cities bombed by the terrorist group ISIS, graffiti-ed on three tiles in blue. Next to them, four pairs of rare Nike Airs are painted in bright pink. The trainers suggest a means to escape and a glimmer of hope in the dark world Seib has depicted, but the cracked tile in the background of one pair of shoes suggests the spectrality of terror on the West.

The rough hessian enhances the gritty texture of the background; the wide expanses of tiled space evoke a sense of isolation and claustrophobia, as if the tiles are the backdrop of a bathroom, a place to hide. The pared back minimalism of the piece belies the sense of imminent danger that bristles beneath the surface, threatening to crack not one tile, but all of them.

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

November 10th, 2016 until
February 11th, 2017
Curated by ARTUNER