Saara Untracht-Oakner is likely known to you as the Mia Farrow-esque vocalist of Brooklyn outfit BOYTOY. Like most artists however, her talents reach far and wide—if you follow her on Instagram then you may have like me, assumed that her first solo gallery show would be of her spectacular and beautiful photography. “KITSCHIN” opening on November 9th, however is an immersive art installation (the best kind) that will showcase Saara’s aptitude for large scale creation. Early one hot October Sunday morning I stopped by Saara’s studio and workspace to get a glimpse into the coming exhibition (which will be the inaugural show at Gallery Petite). Read about it below in her own words and stop by the show this Thursday (flyer below).
“I mess around with everything and since September we’ve basically had this down time where there’s nothing going on with BOYTOY. I’ve had this idea for so long and I was like alright I have this time I gotta just make this happen because I’ve been thinking about it for so long. If I’m not creating I get kind of depressed and feel like I’m not productive.
It’s called “KITSCHIN” which Montana Simone from Idio Gallery had made up, it was originally going to be there until the gallery was shut down. This all kind of started with my rug drawings that I do, then I made a tabletop drawing then I had a friend make silkscreen tablecloths—she sent them to me but they got lost in the mail so I never even fucking saw them which is such a bummer—but then I made placemats which going into your own production is awful. Then I had an idea to make an entire kitchen space based on those ideas and the line drawings.
I’m building an entire kitchen with all 2D drawings on flat wood surfaces so it’s 2-dimensional drawings set up on a 3D space. It’s going to be at Gallery Petite which is run by a sculptor Ty Tripoli that I know from surfing, he does a lot of cool metal work and found sculptures and he’s opening up a new project space next to his gallery so it’s going to be the first installation in his new space and then we’re playing a BOYTOY show after with Michael Rault at Alphaville.
Originally this was just a fun idea—I don’t have any problem making art for the sake of art and not necessarily putting it into words. I think a lot of times people want to force an artist statement from someone—“what does this mean? why are you doing it?” The purpose of visual art is that you don’t need words to explain it. The art that I enjoy most is stuff that transforms a space and is fun, you walk into it and it makes you laugh or smile—doesn’t necessarily need an explanation, the fact that it can immerse you in it is enough.
Saying that—I was creating a gallery show so I needed some meaning behind it and social media is definitely something that I think about a lot. I’ve also been thinking a lot about how stuff is built and how it’s all kind of crappy and just appears to look nice—especially in Brooklyn like all the new building going up where it’s like oh that looks nice and you touch it and it’s a piece of shit.
But to the first point—we’re the last generation that remembers what it was like before the internet and before smartphones—to see how it’s changed and how everyone’s addicted to it including myself—it’s pretty wild. And how people present themselves over the internet creates this sort of false sense of reality—it’s a 2-dimensional representation of the person. You see some furniture online and it looks great, you get it and it’s now what you expected—so I wanted to create that and connect it with that whole world. I call it the facade of authenticity.”