Painting together since 2007, Lydia Hamann & Kaj Osteroth treat the collaborative character of their practice as a constant renegotiation of issues of subjectivity, labor, empowerment, and self-care. each of their paintings is coauthored and based on long-term research into its subject.
In Portrait Büro für Konstruktivismus (2013–14), a portrait of the Berlin-based architects Sandra Bartoli and Silvan Linden, they include the duo’s building projects and their interest in Ornithology. The sense of personal admiration for the architects’ collaboration is paralleled in Admiring Mmakgabo Mapula Helen Sebidi, enjoy Drama! (2014) and Admiring Elaine Sturtevant, the Razzle Dazzle of Thinking (2015). Both belong to the Radical Admiration (2014–18) series that the artists have dedicated to underrepresented female artists they find inspiring. These paintings are often palimpsests of quotations that are packed with desire as much as admiration. Hamann and Osteroth always insert themselves into the scenes: we see them visiting the renowned South African painter Helen Sebidi in her studio in Johannesburg and participating in the L’Abécédaire de Deleuze (2012) video by Sturtevant, sharing the plight of women’s artistry and political struggle.