Katinka Lampe’s heavily mediated portraits are an exploration into the masks people wear to fit in, and the challenges of looking past the surface both in paintings and in human relationships. Interested in portraiture as a means to reflect on the legacy of painting as well as important societal themes relating to identity, diversity and gender representation, Lampe’s uncanny depictions of people never strive to achieve an accurate representation of their subjects. By guiding her models to play specific roles and manipulating their poses and expressions to resemble those seen in magazines, social media or old master paintings, Lampe interferes with the identity of those depicted and moves further away from representation as the subject of her paintings.


The models in Lampe’s paintings are often adorned by jewellery, accessories and patterned garments chosen by the artist, which attempt to separate the depiction of those represented from their identity and instil the images with a sense of artificiality. These items, often repositories of personal histories and signifiers of individuality, when mediated by the artist become catalysts to explore issues around the process of identity formation in a society that is increasingly dependent on media. Through these staged depictions offriends, acquaintances, neighbours and the artist’s own family members, Lampe’s practice functions as a social commentary on the diversity of today’s society whilst interrogating the classical relation between the painter and its model. Understanding how bodies are politicized and become an arena for identities, Lampe purposefully put herself in a problematic role to continually ask questions of herself and her position as part of her practice. 

Lampe’s portraits are the result of a skilful combination of classical oil painting techniques with contemporary modes of representation. Using a wide array of painting methods, from underpainting to layered stencils, cut from her drawings, Lampe confers an uncanny flatness to her subjects. Her paintings are finished by large brushstrokes aimed at removing the artist’s hand from the work to allow the viewer a greater freedom in the interpretation of her subjects. Through this process Lampe creates portraits that appear suspended in time, as they at once traverse the realms of figuration and abstraction to question the fragility of human emotions and connections.


Katinka Lampe (b.1963 in Tilburg, NL) lives and works in Rotterdam, NL. She received her degree from the Academy of Art and Design in Hertogenbosch. She has exhibited extensively across Europe, North America, and Asia with recent solo exhibitions including Bubble at Elizabeth Houston Gallery, NY; Anonymity, Leeahn Gallery, Daegu; and Slow, Ron Mandos gallery, Amsterdam. Recent group exhibitions include All Eyes, AkzoNobel Art Foundation, Amsterdam; Out of Office, Singer Museum, Laren; and Colours of Diversity, Hungarian National Museum, Budapest. Her work is included in the collections of Museum 21C; Museum Arnhem, Arnhem; ING Collection, Amsterdam; APMA, Amore Pacific Museum of Art Seoul; Salon Dahlmann, Berlin; Museum van Loon, Amsterdam; C.N.A.P Centre National des Arts Plastique, Paris; Art Curial, Paris; Frisseras Museum Athens; AkzoNobel Art Foundation, Amsterdam, Igal Ahouvi Art Collection, Tel Aviv/ London, among others.