Katja Seib

If Not, Not, 2016

Oil on Hessian

180 × 160 cm

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‘If Not, Not’ by Katja Seib explores narratives of fantasy and seduction, interlacing dreams and reality.

Two women, clearly in a changing room, primp before a mirror with the words “No more parties in Dusseldorf” written in neon above. Between them is a photograph reminiscent of Georg Herold’s sculpture ‘Anders als die Anderen’, transformed into a more seductive depiction of semi-naked cowboys.

The women exchange angry looks yet echo each other’s poses and are almost exact mirror images; combined with the pastel coloured walls and the eery yellow light, it is left ambiguous as to whether this is a dreamscape or rooted in reality. The exposure of the women’s breasts, along with the nakedness of the cowboys, suggests conflicting desire and sexual jealousy are at the heart of this oneiric world. What the women fight over, and who is being accused of wrong-doing, is deliberately left open for the viewer to decide.

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