From March 4 to May 9, 2015, Galerie des Galeries has invited painter Karina Bisch to take over its exhibition space. Since the 2000s, inspired by modernism, with a great feel for color and appreciation of applied art history, this artist has developed a hauntingly graphic painting style that keeps challenging the origin and use of shape.

For this exhibition, which she entitled Arlequine (Miss Harlequin), Karina Bisch has chosen to display some of her more recent work in an original setting. The venue’s walls will entirely be covered by a 70-meter-long canvas, painted in black and white patterns, plunging visitors into a total universe. Window-like openings within the canvas will reveal color paintings. In the middle of this space, six characters are dressed in outfits created by the artist. Like spectators in a show, they animate the exhibition space, effectively transforming it into a theater.

Works by Karina Bisch have been exhibited in France, Europe and the United States, and are included in public collections such as the Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris and FRAC Aquitaine. After graduating from École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, in 2000 and being a resident at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam, in 2005 and 2006, Karina Bisch has developed an artistic vocabulary that draws extensively from the worlds of art, fashion and dance: she reinterprets this imagery by combining it in creative and unexpected ways.

Portrait of Karina Bisch

The most striking thing about Karina Bisch is this energy of incarnation. Her mere presence suffices to ensure one experiences a moment in art history. Her jewelry, outfits and color combinations are a daily homage to her modern heroes: Sonia Delaunay crops up time after time, as well as Ellsworth Kelly and Pablo Picasso. A woman, an artist, a painter and artist’s wife, Karina is a life artist where life equals art and creativity. Through her personal history, from her childhood in Côte d’Ivoire to her travels and encounters, research and image collections, Karina has developed a dictionary of shapes from which she draws to create her paintings series. Whether acrylic or stencil, on canvas or on wall hangings, in volume or flat, her art knows no bounds in its expression. In 2013, for example, she created Painting for Living, a series of paintings on silk squares to be worn or hung. A brand was born, for which Karina will now develop two collections annually. Now, is this fashion or is this art? One thing is certain, here is an artist who loves to play with genres and charm us with form. That is who she is – the Miss Harlequin who designed this show for Galerie des Galeries.

Karina embarks on a project of gargantuan proportions: to cover all of the gallery’s walls with a canvas that she will have spent three months painting. The commitment and time required for producing a work of art is something Karina deeply believes in: the handmade, the experimentation with materials and techniques, all this lies at the heart of her creative process.

The title Arlequine is also a reminder of the artist’s love of costumes and stage sets. In the middle of the venue, mannequins dressed in outfits created by the artist will each bear the given name of some leading light of 20th Century modern art: Gustave, Varvara, Sonia, Giacomo, Pablo and Ellsworth. The implied reference to artistic trends, from cubism to orphism and to minimalism, highlights the importance of color and pattern for Karina. Both these attributes of her work will be explored throughout the exhibition, which includes black and white versions of previous work by the artist.

The concept and design of the exhibition Arlequine reveal the “unifying pictorial link” that is so central to the artist’s vision. For Karina has but one goal – to further advance the modern project by integrating art in all areas of life.

Elsa Janssen, Director Galerie des Galeries