Contemporary Frescoes by Mariska Karto

When nobody’s watching she “sings until the mirror breaks” but fortunately when people are watching, they’re looking at one young, fine art photographer’s mind-blowing frescoes. Born in Suriname, South America and raised in the Netherlands, Mariska Karto is fast becoming the latest emerging talent to keep tabs on. Last year she took home the First Prize Gold Award at the Prix de La Photographie de Paris, the prestigious event that promotes rising photographers from all around the world, and introduces them to the artistic community of Paris. What makes Karto stand out from the rest is her undeniable ability to immaculately portray the techniques of Renaissance masters, and blend them into modern, original images. This unmatched style from any other artist, culminates in her frescoes. Confront the past, present and future by discovering the prize winner’s four extraordinary frescoes that can be found at The Public House of Art in Amsterdam. 

Mariska Karto. When Morning Arrives. 2017. Photography. Edition of 30.

Like any masterpiece from the Renaissance period, Karto’s work is filled with fascinating symbolism, objects, stylistic flair and an ability to engage the viewer at just a glimpse of a glance. When Morning Arrives does exactly that. The oval composition is reminiscent of the opulence and decadence of the Baroque period. As figures float, effortlessly through the sky, doves fly across the work, symbolising the holy spirt. The round globe represents hope and the ability to change your destiny, which is the spirit and heart of all Karto’s frescoes.

Mariska Karto. Cult of Consumption. 2017. Photography. Edition of 30.

Cult of Consumption is precisely what it says on the tin. At a glance, all one can see is what appears to be a tree of smoke, but look a little closer and that smoky tree reveals an explosion of interesting characters. This work tells the story of not one person, but a moment in time. The past, present and future, collide in a hazy  bubble of smoky vibes. Karto includes scenes of shopping, technology, violence, passion and peace all in one epic image. Pardon our French, but a ‘mind fuck’ and a lot to process, which is exactly what Karto wants to reveal about the world we live in!

Mariska Karto. Rise Again and Continue. 2017. Photography. Edition of 30.

“In my work I talk about our stories of our travels in contemporary life and how we struggle with not being perfect.” As the work’s title implies, when we fall we must get back up and continue to power through the day!The emphatic vision containing notes of religion, victory, strength, courage and politics pushes the viewer to rise the best they can; that’s one hell of a morning motivator!

Mariska Karto. La Grande Delusione. 2017. Photography. Edition of 30.

Kicking it back in the late 16th and 17th centuries is what this image will have you believe; another sharp reference to the old vs the new. Their poses and colour tones may have you thinking back to badass Baroque painters, but their freshly inked skin will carry you all the way up to the 21st Century. Confused? Don’t be, allow life and death, angel and demon themes merge together to inspire, bewilder and amaze you in this extremely powerful artwork.


Written by Paris-based freelance writer, Joanna Reid for The Public House of Art