Rutger Brandt Gallery, Amsterdam

Bethaniënstraat 39, 1012 BZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands



Cultural identity and memories of her native country play a central role in the paintings, watercolors and drawings of Natalia Ossef (Syria,1983). Based on found photographs and old postcards she reshapes a past in an abstracted figuration in light pastel tones where faces and identity disappear. Distancing herself from her background and its values, she reshapes memories by adding a new and recognizable identity to old pictures. Ossef’s paintings seem like family-portraits without detailed facial features in which we can project memories of our own. Each work can be read as a chapter in a travel story that pull certain places and moments from oblivion. 

Carlos Sagrera (Spain, 1987) on the other hand depicts interiors, sometimes seemingly empty but always full with detail. Sagrera’s hyperrealism is good, but when he uses abstract color sweeps it gets really exciting. A photo archive is the starting point for this series of paintings: pictorial representations interweaving the past and present. The psychologization is nice for whom wants to have a story. For the painting lovers it is sufficient to see how the canvas is torn open imaginary.

Both artists use a form of abstracted figuration to search for (cultural) identity and use old photographs and postcards as a starting point of their incredible work: there where the figuration ends and where spatial voids arise, there emerge 100s of associations by the spectator.

Natalia Ossef, Void, 2017, Oil on canvas, 50 x 30 cm
Natalia Ossef, Pamuk, 2017, Oil and collage on canvas, 44 x 29.5 cm
Natalia Ossef, Blindfold, 2016, Collage and pencil on paper, 48 x 47.5 cm
Natalia Ossef, The Mark on the Wall, 2017, Pencil and collage on paper, 30 x 30 cm
Natalia Ossef, Ashes, 2016, Watercolor and collage on paper, 31.5 x 40 cm
Natalia Ossef, Sugarloaf, 2016, Watercolor and collage on paper, 23.8 x 31.7 cm
Natalia Ossef, Silence in the Living-room, 2016, Watercolor and gouache on paper, 32.5 x 50.5 cm
Natalia Ossef, Through Oceans, 2016, Mixed media on paper, 12.9 x 26.7 cm
Carlos Sagrera, Salón, 2017, Acrylic on canvas, 130 x 200 cm