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Detail image of Lina Iris Viktor artwork I bargained with my sins and shed my skins.

Lina Iris Viktor  César   Louise Bourgeois  Louise Nevelson  Yves Klein

Rite of Passage

June 30 – October 29 2022

Rite of Passage: Lina Iris Viktor with César, Louise Bourgeois, Louise Nevelson, and Yves Klein is a presentation of works by Lina Iris Viktor and historic artists whose work finds echoes in her practice. Revealing connections across color, process, and material, this dialogue complements Viktor’s recent shift toward a more intuitive, abstract, and visceral mode of expression. Rite of Passage demonstrates this turn in the artist’s practice, debuting a new work that Viktor created for the presentation at LGDR. A selection of the artist’s recent paintings and sculptures are concurrently on view in the exhibition In the Black Fantastic at the Hayward Gallery, London.

While calling on the past, Rite of Passage foregrounds Viktor’s reflection on our current moment as “mercurial.” Meditating upon how our global society contends with mortality, she uses gold to create a malleable topography, challenging the notion of the metal’s perceived permanence. “Rite of Passage,” a title chosen by Viktor, is linked to the Roman deity Mercury (from whose name the word “mercurial” is derived) and his Greek counterpart, the messenger Hermes. The god’s role as a psychopomp—a being that travels between mortal and divine realms to escort souls to the afterlife—is analogous to how gold serves as a conduit in Viktor’s work, actualizing a ritualized passage from one thing to another.

Rite of Passage unveils Viktor’s new work I bargained with my sins and shed my skins. (2022). Viktor here departs from the figure as a central motif and enshrines the work in golden “layers of light,” expanding upon her signature use of water gilding with 24 carat gold. I bargained with my sins and shed my skins. is accompanied by Ekstasis (2021), a sculpture Viktor made using volcanic rock and adorned with black and gold bronze details. Inspired by both modern Western and West African sculptural traditions, Ekstasis exemplifies the artist’s masterful use of symbol, texture, and color to create a visual lexicon of diasporic histories and mythologies. Also on view are seven works on paper from Viktor’s series Dark Continent (2015–20).

About the artist

Lina Iris Viktor (b. 1987) is a Liberian-British conceptual artist, painter, and performance artist whose practice draws on a range of influences, including African symbolism from ancient Egypt and contemporary Mali, among other places, classical astronomy, and European portraiture. She studied film at Sarah Lawrence College, a background that continues to inform her work, along with her continued studies within photography at The School of Visual Arts and an early education in performance arts. The artist’s work is included in In the Black Fantastic, a group exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, London. She lives and works itinerantly between Italy and London. 

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