Three years after her last exhibition at the gallery, Dutch artist Katinka Lampe returns to Paris with a new set of paintings. Lampe’s work nearly always explores the question of our relationship with identity, whether it be intimate or overtly exposed. This time, she envisages the problematic construction of the image of oneself and of the other through the prism of social networks.
Lampe paints mostly young adults. Through the absence of the artist’s hand and the brushstruck, the technique confers an obvious realism to the work. The resemblance is evident but not of big importance. Every painting is a representation of a model but at the same time an attempt to deny portraiture. The model represents an issue, not a personality, and we then understand that this practice of the portrait is the pretext for a fecund imagery, more than a genre whose codes we must follow.
Instadentity reworks in painting the narcissistic ambiguity encouraged by social networks, of which adolescents are the first victims – and also the first players. Waiting for confirmation from others, implicated in a constant competition: Katinka Lampe’s models pose the question of the virtual connection, which aspires to reality. The result is neither criticism nor negative; it is, in the first instance, creative work. How does one accept the image of the other and construct one’s own? Finally, Lampe offers spectators the same games as Instagram: identities constructed and disguised which result in a haziness in the reciprocal recognition of the self and the other. Behind the expression of virtual identity there also lies the question of potential identity. By tending to the image and artifices of her models, the artist augments possibilities and plays with the multiple reality of the personality. The desire for transformation, crystallised by social networks, projects identity towards the future, like a desired-for becoming, always more beautiful.
“Through my paintings, I want above all to show the theatre that is acted out. In the spectator’s perception of the model, I constantly narrow down the border between fictive space and reality. The “me” is staged in a virtual world which systematises beauty, attractiveness and sexiness. Individuals develop the idea that they make of themselves by creating an impression they want to impart to others.”
Katinka Lampe will bring her models to life through a performance involving four or five dancers. Young, untouchable, fashionable and proud, they’ll fill the gallery space the way their images fill the canvas. The paintings then come to life in a protean choreography, between approach and catwalk and ballet movements. To get our “likes,” they’ll play out their role that they’ve proudly constructed for their new fictive lives.