Portrait of artist Lina Iris Viktor

We are delighted to announce that LGDR is now working with Liberian-British multidisciplinary artist Lina Iris Viktor.

In London, Viktor’s work is on currently on view in the gallery’s exhibition Rite of Passage: Lina Iris Viktor with César, Louise Bourgeois, Louise Nevelson, and Yves Klein through October 29, 2022, and in the group exhibition In the Black Fantastic at the Hayward Gallery through September 18, 2022.

Viktor’s first solo exhibition with LGDR will debut in Paris in 2023.

The artist currently lives and works between Naples and London. Her distinct visual language has achieved critical acclaim for its deft mingling of disparate materials and methods to activate diasporic histories and mythologies. Viktor’s work, which merges performance, painting, and sculpture, and photography, often incorporates water gilding with 24-karat gold, an ancient technique she has deployed over the past decade to embed ‘layers of light’ into the surfaces of her work, as displayed in the celestial effects of her ongoing Constellations series (2016–ongoing).

Viktor’s influences range from African symbolism found in both ancient Egypt and contemporary Mali, to classical astronomy and European portraiture. Her works involve  philosophical commentary that addresses both the physical and spiritual realms, and an expansive approach to the use of black. Viktor’s lexicon employs color as a conduit: lustrous gold to summon spiritual transcendence harkening back to funerary traditions of antiquity; ultramarine in reference to South American, Indian, and North African aesthetics (as well as the “Blue Room” of her former studio); and black as an evocation of the limitlessness of being, of reclamation, and of universality—the “materia prima” and primordial source of life.

In her earlier celebrated series, such as A Haven. A Hell. A Dream Deferred (2017–18), Viktor employed her own image in layered compositions that at once suggested Byzantine icons, anthropomorphic Babylonian goddesses, and the golden age of West African studio portrait photography. In more recent works, Viktor extends her signature use of potent color and elements of cosmology to increasingly abstract effect, embracing more intuitive expressions. This transition has materialized in the artist’s new volcanic rock works, which summon West African sculptural traditions to act as spiritual conductors; in the incorporation of robust reds to imbue urgency into her color palette; and in new approaches to her ritualistic use of gold to challenge the metal’s perceived, limited permanence. In her hands, this precious metal takes on a new topographical impact.

Lina Iris Viktor is a Liberian-British conceptual artist, painter, and performance artist. 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, which will travel to the Kunsthal Rotterdam in November, 2022.

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