Exhibited Works


Ana Karkar

19.01.23 - 04.03.22

Opening on Thursday, January 19th, 18:00

Avert your gaze from the opening of Ana Karkar’s Villains Vault, lest you risk suffering the same fate as the subject of ‘Acid orgasm’. The painting is ostensibly an homage to the denouement of Raiders of the Lost Ark, when the ark of the covenant is eventually opened, melting the faces of the assembled Nazi officer antagonists. The scene, considered so squeamish it was recently controversially cut from a television airing of the Indiana Jones epic, is reimagined in Karkar’s hands however. Here the memorable melting face signifies instead a moment of copulatory climax, an orgasm capable of complete visage disintegration. For Karkar, who has made Paris her adopted home for the past decade and a half, the colloquial French phrase ‘la petite mort’ is perhaps particularly poignant. Translated as ‘the little death’, the euphemistic expression is often employed in reference to an orgasm, specifically that brief loss of post-coital consciousness, that ephemeral apex of euphoria.

Elsewhere, the traditional art historical staple of the ‘nude’ is given a taboo twist in explicit imagery referencing those two titans of adult-only entertainment, horror movies and erotica. These cult underground slasher and skin flicks, typically low on budget but with a surplus of excess, have long influenced Karkar’s painting practice, having grown up in a post-Summer of Love San Francisco, the hangovers of hedonism still evidently apparent. For her latest solo exhibition, the artist's signature Schiele-esque sinuous brushstrokes outline undulating bodies; all ethereal intertwined limbs, ghostly genitalia and psychedelic sex acts. Pornographic phantoms if you will, as if emerging from a glitching VHS video nasty or horny home video. Throughout, boundaries blur between pain and passion, pleasure and pressure, again echoing the potentially problematic language of lovemaking, at once vaguely vampiric (‘suck’, ‘love bite’, ‘devour’) and violent (‘fuck’, ‘smash’, ‘pound’).


Hector Campbell


Born and raised in San Francisco, Ana Karkar studied at the San Francisco Art Institute, the Sorbonne and the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. She dropped out of her MFA for a job at Louis Vuitton HQ where she worked for 7 years in image production and digital media. In 2013 she was mentored in the TURPS Correspondence program based in London.
Her work is influenced by images held in the collective conscious, experimental film and cinema. She offers an alternative perspective to these images via painting. The storytelling in her work is inspired by film directors such as Stanley Kubrick, Brian De Palma and Dario Argento as well as a number of contemporary photographers. Her painterly stroke evokes that of Edvard Munch, Francis Bacon and Egon Schiele as well as the Viennese Secession reprised in Psychedelic Art from her hometown.
More recent exhibitions include a solo show at Galerie Marguo, Consulat de la Gaité in Paris, Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, and DZIALDOV in Berlin. Her work has been presented by international galleries, mostly in Germany and Luxembourg, but also in France, Belgium, the UK and Japan.


Ana Karkar

Meat dreams, 2022

Oil on linen

162 x 130 cm

Image: Ana Karkar