Tanja Ritterbex

Maastricht/Amsterdam (NL)

2015 / nail polish, acrylic, latex, wood glue, oil paint on paper / 21 x 29,7 cm

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Tanja is currently a student in the De Ateliers,
previously Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, prior to beginning her studies in Germany she graduated the Academy of Fine art and Design in Maastricht.
At this moment painting is the key focus of her practice, but she also creates installations, sculptures and videos. No matter the medium, self-reflection and social critique are constants in her work.
Fascinated with the “spectacle of everyday life” Tanja’s works feature figurative subjects close to the artist, or the artist herself.
Ritterbex states that she paints on a canvas like it’s a diary. “It’s about me and about women, what women dream about; big breasts or a lot of chocolate, a new bag, these kinds of things – our female landscape”.
When asked about her cheeky approach to the social context and figures she responses by saying “I don’t know if parody is the right word, but I like to keep humour and this sense of playfulness in the work. I am not laughing at them or at myself. I am using our behaviour and my own curiosity and experiences, I’m asking questions of myself of us, of women”.

The paintings by Dutch artist Tanja Ritterbex are an artistic instrument and objects of self-critique.

Driven by the dynamics of paint her practice is both spontaneous and systematic; each work is consciously planned, but when it comes to putting brush to canvas her application is “based in immediacy”.

Tanja’s paintings start with small test canvases, which she calls her sketchbook which lead to a traditional cartoon on canvas, colour blocking and finally layers of acrylic paint applied quickly – “wet on wet”.
By developing a consistent visual vocabulary of intense colour, glitter and conflicting lines of sight, a unique tongue and cheek vision of “her world” comes to life in both her painted and video works.
“She keeps a sense of humour and playfulness in each work” while at the same time presenting a critical and often extreme portraiture of herself and her peers.

Perhaps at first glance the paintings by Tanja Ritterbex appear decorative and colourful but it is not her aim to create simply pleasing images. Her use of colour and vibrancy is a way to draw the public in, to alert them and grab their attention. Ritterbex playfully uses intense colour and textures to draw attention to certain details or aspects of her work – to emphasise beauty or ugliness in her subject. Her works in paint and video both question the societal and personal pressures experienced by the artist. The use of her own body as a medium creates parallels with Atelier Van Lieshout’s oeuvre of human systems, sexuality and the effects of the machine that is society. Each work from Ritterbex presents her perspective and critique on herself and her peers.

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