While Sonia Klajnberg's illustrations refuse to adhere to any particular context or obvious narrative, her imagery remains young, innovative and resolutely happy. Her works are luminous in colour and hinge on a sense of intimacy. A slow unfolding of colour, form and materiality creates a different relationship between the viewer and the figures, perhaps a more empathic relationship.Everyday events such as cooking, gardening or exercising are transformed into grand, sometimes humorously epic scenes where the artist's cartoon-like figures fuse together with the trails and currents of energy that animate the canvas.Her inspiration also comes from invented narratives and constructed realities with a humorous touch.
About the Artist
Curator İpek Yeğinsü examines the themes and motifs of the artists' work and the context in which they were made:
Sonia Klajnberg’s Bluegrass series takes its name from and is inspired by a sub-genre of American country music, discovered by the artist during a recent music festival she attended in Berlin. Klajnberg is deeply influenced by the sentimental and narrative aspect of this music, expressing both joy and sadness, played by traditional instruments like the banjo, the violin, and the guitar, and accompanied by human vocals. The American countryside the listener is taken appears to be immune to change: family bands, giant fields, cowboy’s hats and horses. Klajnberg combines in her image all the available clichée of the American traditional culture and presents them in a vintage graphic approach. The artist produced this artwork in Istanbul, deeply inspired by the energy of the street musicians and the accompanying crowds on the Istiklal Avenue. The imagery and the music establish a synesthetic dialog, the one present calling the absent one into play.
In life we all make choices. We sometimes regret them but have neither the courage nor the motivation to change them. And other times we ourselves are surprised by how radical our own rebellion can become; how loudly our essence and nature manifests itself, no more to be hidden; what we are willing to sacrifice for self- realization once we wake up from the comatose state of the routine; how a seemingly tragic failure can become the most valuable blessing; how the banality of everyday life can reveal the crucial milestones in our journey and how saying “never” is the most dangerous act of self confidence in the world. Each one of Sonia Klajnberg’s robots has such a story. The robot calculator is flawless until one day he loses his ability to calculate, which also causes him to find his love. The robot cook decides to leave the factory he works at and travels to Italy to become a skillful pizza chef. The robot gardener falls in love with a savage flower he is supposed to exterminate. The robot watchmaker is bored of being precise and starts to tell everyone a different, more relative time. The robot juggler works at a garage and his spare time activity ultimately becomes his career at a circus. The robot housekeeper enjoys the way the objects and traces reveal secrets to him. The robot fireman falls in love with another robot while rescuing her from a fire. The robot sportsman gives up on one of his racing trophies to enjoy life’s simple pleasures. The robot machinist finds her destiny after being fired from a hospital and losing her medical career. The robot lumberjack refuses a dance career that her family imposes on her and runs away into the forest. Finally, the robot artist believes he can change the world and starts to paint a new landscape on the existing one.
Are we as courageous as Klajnberg’s robots? Does what we do simply function as our supposed-to-be destiny, or does it reflect our reason of existence? For how long can we resist our own nature? For how long can we deny our own essence? Klajnberg’s robots refuse to, even though they are robots.
Sonia Klajnberg (@soniaklajnberg) is a graphic designer and illustrator who lives and works in Berlin. She holds a National Diploma of Fine Arts from Ecole Européene de l'Image Angouleme and exhibits her work in her native France, as well as Germany and Turkey. She has participated to Contemporary Istanbul 2014 with her Revolution of Robots Series with Galeri MCRD.