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.