Galerie Fons Welters - Amsterdam


While “Der Gläserne Mensch” was once an anatomical object of study, today it is also a metaphor for the examination of algorithms and the application of data mining processes. Is there someone out there who might know us better than we know ourselves? This question revolves around the interconnection of body and mind, as well as the demarcation of these entities, which can never be precisely determined. In the midst of this dilemma, Sarah Ksieska places her most recent paintings, which strive to illuminate the alienated relationship between internal and external realities. For this, the glass or the transparent body serves her as both a symbol and leitmotif. The enigmatic scenes star hybrid protagonists with humanoid features. Like reflections on spiritual and materialistic forms of existence, they navigate inner body worlds and surreal landscapes.

Sarah Ksieska’s work mediates between the observing outside world and the introspective gaze. “Verwirklichung” (Realization) depicts a glass horse in a shimmery, golden setting against a jet-black background. The animal contemplates its own shadow, which delineates an alien form. This uncanny self-encounter is complemented by further whimsical depictions: “Versprechen,” (Promise) shows the close-up of a grotesque creature holding a heart in its hands, “Globusgefühl,” (Globe-Feeling) is an enigmatic portrait of a woman in green with a glass marble. These works additionally manifest the impression that they are insights into some sort of translucent life form. Furthermore, we encounter abstracted organs, cells, and body fragments in merging, amalgamating states. We find ourselves tempted to create a narrative confluence between these dreamlike scenes, that are only fragmentarily set in our physical reality. In her painted inventions, Sarah Ksieska references collector’s items made of glass and medieval anatomical drawings – their concepts of interiors form the starting point for her fantastical renderings. These found objects are digitally collaged and edited and the resulting sketches are translated into oil paintings. Ksieska implements aluminum as a painting surface, which provides her compositions with a smooth, silky-shimmering base and anchors them in space. In all of the works, her painterly expertise is particularly evident in the depiction of materiality – from sparkling glass, and finely branched capillaries, to the oscillation between transparency and opacity. The color palette focuses on these areas, exploring delicate shades of gray, pink, and green, as well as ocher. Within the series, special care is taken in the placement of light points and sources, referencing the luminous screen of the tablet.

As we dive deeper and deeper into these visual worlds, we remain suspended in a state of wonder and uncertainty about what we see. Sarah Ksieska deliberately relies on the sense of the uncanny, which we perceive as a physical experience and, according to Ksieska, “connects our own human body to its mysterious, psychological or psychosomatic (inner) worlds.” The exhibition “Kuriosum” is an invitation to both critical and curious introspection and offers us a sensual way of understanding the world.

Text: Marijana Schneider

Translation: Anne Fellner