Katja Seib

The Slutmachine, 2015

Oil on Hessian

135 × 135 cm

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Upon being questioned about the connection between sexuality and aggression in her work, Katja Seib tellingly replied “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”. ‘The Slutmachine’ is a provocative painting that is explicit and yet enigmatic at the same time. Like a riddle, it almost demands to be decoded.

The atypical slot-machine depicted by Seib seems to offer a plethora of carnal delights for the winner: pole-dancing blondes, exotic charms and six-packed man. The tattooed character trying his luck at the game, and who presumably just lost, is shedding a silent tear. The arm with which he is playing the ‘slut-machine’ is gently caressed, or perhaps guided, by a delicate feather, held by a feminine manicured hand.

Katja Seib often paints scenarios that look familiar at first. She does so in order to establish a connection between the work and the viewer. However, she always introduces mysterious and unsettling elements to her compositions, that complicate the potential narrative of the work. This way, the enigma remains unsolved and the painting offers itself up for interpretation.

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