Stranger in Moscow, 2016
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There is constant elusion and an evasive playfulness in Katja Seib’s painting ‘Stranger in Moscow’. At its centre is the late American pop star, Prince, lying across a bed in homage to the record cover of the singer’s 1983 hit, ‘Delirious’. The neon-lit lyrics on the purple wall are taken from the track, ‘Song About Purple’, from Mike Kelley’s ‘Day is Done’ project, a nod to Prince’s most famous hit.
Seib began work on ‘Stranger in Moscow’ on the 21st April, 2016, the day Prince died. The composition encapsulates Seib’s broader sense of malaise with the recent deaths of iconic musicians and artists, particularly Michael Jackson. Here Jackson is remembered through Jeff Koon’s famous porcelain incarnation of the singer from 1988; Seib illuminates Koon’s artwork by the light of a lamp resting on a chest of drawers.
Prince, facing the viewer, can be seen completing a water colouring that returns Seib’s painting to its ‘Delirious’ motif and to Michael Jackson. On Prince’s record cover, the picture book Seib reproduces in the painting is left blank. Here the tincture of a composition can be made out: Seib re-imagines Prince painting Koon’s pop porcelain sculpture, his fingers holding the light switch. Seib provocatively captures a moment before action, leaving us to wonder: will he switch it off?