Fair: Art-O-Rama 2022, Marseille
with Paula Kamps
For Art-O-Rama 2022, sans titre proposes a solo presentation by Chicago-based German artist Paula Kamps (b. 1990), comprised of a series of new paintings in multiple formats, produced specifically for the fair.
Paula Kamps’ practice explores mediums traditionally considered peripheral to painting. She employs a technique midway between watercolor and drawing, scattering upon the canvas large swathes of ink that take the form of “stains”, as the Germain painter André Butzer describes them. These reveal, here and there, human figures, in fragmented scenes of daily life.
Over the last year Kamps has come to incorporate imagery from various traditional regional garments and costumes, evoking the performativity of theaters, circuses, or carnival events. Her figures, especially children, demonstrate cultural belonging through dress. Be it a Bavarian boy’s traditional garments, the artist’s childhood ballet dancing garb, or the archetypal American cowboy attire, a costume communicates societal background and identity, acting as a signifier of cultural affiliation. These signifiers on the societal stage, reflecting nationalism and the creation of shared myth, are juxtaposed with scenes deriving from actual stages, related to conventional performativity, like circus performers, clowns, or carnival costumes.
In addition to the stains and washes that yield her human subjects, Kamps’ paintings employ ink, pigments diluted in rabbit skin glue, and acrylic paint applied by airbrush. Leaves and vegetational elements continue to recall the transience of natural cycles.
Kamps envisions her work as a continuing effort of reminiscence and self-conception. Addressing both displacement and connection, the paintings encourage contemplation, inviting a viewer to pause and reflect on the mutability of memory. In suggesting the impossibility of truly shared memory, they call into question any notions of identity and authenticity founded thereon.
Paula Kamps (b. 1990, Germany) studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf with Tomma Abts and Elizabeth Peyton.
She has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Mine Project, Hong Kong (2022), M. LeBlanc, Chicago (2021), Sans titre (2016), Paris (2021), Kunstverein Heppenheim (2019), Spazio Nea, Naples (2018) as well as Kunsthaus Mettmann (2014). In November 2022, her work will be presented in a solo show at East Contemporary, Milano.
Her work has been shown in group exhibitions at Neve, Los Angeles (2022), at Andrea Festa Fine Art, Rome (2021), at Orchard32, New York (2019), at Carbon12, Dubai (2018) and at Kunstverein Reutlingen (2018).