29.01.2011 – 12.03.2011 

Opening: Friday, 28 January 2011, 6 – 9 pm

click the picture to launch gallery

For his first solo exhibition in the Krome Gallery, Ivan Seal selected ten paintings from his studio and sent them to six people working in the field of psychology, psychotherapy and Gestalt therapy with instructions to respond with a sentence, word or set of words. Ten participant reactions were used by the artist as stimulus for a new set of 11 paintings that echo to the originals, starting a game of free correlations and open interpretation. 

Ivan Seal’s painting acts as a language, whose code underlies an instrumentalisation. It is what it is, color and brushstrokes. Work. 

Seal’s paintings develop a language of signs that performs by representing iconographical scenarios in an endless process-related act. Reduced to essential motifs, the artist signalizes with his manic repeated themes a position that claims the contextualization of the “single picture” and also flips the notion of a “singular” meaning to an image.

The premise for Ivan Seal’s practice is often a word, sentence or an associative game. Paintings frequently begin with the image of a plinth against a dark background. A sculpted form is then placed on this stage, either standing firmly or precariously balanced on thin string. The clay may be treated in various ways, eg. divided by a knife or studded with matches. They seem to be sculptures, that have been abandoned in the middle of the process of their creation. The material presence of the depicted object is manifest, the clay is malleable, the string is often strained, the knife sharp.

This selection is complemented by the spoken word piece „Constructed stream of consciousness - narrative mode using six people in the field of psychology (edit)“ where the responses given by the participants are spoken by Seal and then fed into a computer program which constantly shuffles their order and randomly construct an endless associative stochastic poem. In this way the soundwork comments on a parallel level an open combinatorics, paintings as narration, syntax in space.

The second spoken word piece presented in the exhibition is „Inventory“. It involves the narration by the artist of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2, one of the most frequently used personality tests in mental health consisting of 500 statements, which participants have to answer, “true as applied to you or false as applied to you”. These statements, which play continuously in the gallery space, act as points of reference, stimulation or association in conjunction with the paintings. Although Seal reads each question with the same hypnotic and emotionless voice as in the previous sound piece, his matter-of-fact tone leads ad absurdum to a latent confession. The unsaid responses set the scene for the most intimate free associations.

Ivan Seal was born in 1973 in Stockport, England and currently lives and works in Berlin. Between 1992-1995 he attended Sheffield Hallam University.


Recent exhibitions include: „I Learn By Osmosis“, CEAAC, Strasbourg (curated by Bettina Klein); „Postface“, Essays and Observations, Berlin; „Dunce“, Krome Gallery, Berlin; „Hauntology“, Berkeley Art Museum USA; Novembro Arte Contemporanea Sau Paulo; „Two Rooms For A Fall“, West Germany, Berlin ( curated by Meike Jansen and Ingo Gerken); „You Talk Too Much“, Visite Ma Tente, Berlin.