Katja Seib

If the Truth Hurts I Pop Pain Pills, 2015

Oil on Hessian

150 × 180 cm

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Katja Seib’s paintings are suspended between domesticity and fantasticality. Familiar and reassuring depictions of interiors contend the space with mysterious interstices and otherworldly creatures. The movie-like division of space that often occurs in Seib’s paintings encourages the viewer to read a narrative into these works.

The cinematographic effect is also triggered by the disorienting tension between the static pose of the subjects and the incredible dynamism of the painting, as if the eye of the camera, moved by a skilled director, were guiding the spectator from one scene to the next.

The dark figure curled up in the left-hand side of ‘If the Truth Hurts I Pop Pain Pills’ seduces the viewer into following her glowing green, pulsating eyes towards the brightly lit living room on the right. An arching stream of pills that bridges the scenes, where a figure is lying on a sofa, in a pose arguably familiar to most of the viewers: visibly relaxed, the androgynous character is fiddling with their phone. Their head is hidden from the viewer: their body, their existence even, expands beyond the picture frame, where the flow of pills is directed.

Katja Seib’s mastery of colour and texture is remarkable; by mixing the hues herself, the artist can decide whether she wants the paint to be thick and shiny, or granular and thin. Thus, paint itself becomes involved in the narrative process and a closer observation of the surface might reveal underlying connections within the subject matter.

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