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LINA IRIS VIKTOR'S ‘SOLAR ANGELS & LUNAR LORDS’ AT PILAR CORRIAS

Viktor's interplay of light and shadow evokes a sense of both divine illumination and cosmic mystery:  Solar Angels & Lunar Lords a multi-sensory journey that feels both real and otherworldly. writes Avantika Pathania.

Installation photography courtesy of Pilar Corrias/Mark Blower


Lina Iris Viktor’s exhibition Solar Angels & Lunar Lords at Pilar Corrias is a captivating showcase of her latest artworks including paintings, sculptures, and works on paper. Viktor’s artistry skilfully embodies elegance and opulence, tastefully weaving luxurious elements throughout her works. The experience is akin to taking a leisurely and extravagant stroll, immersed in a world of refined beauty.


With this inaugural solo exhibit at Pilar Corrias, Viktor ventures into new territory by shifting from narrative painting to formal exploration, cleverly examining the cultural significance of light and darkness. The exhibition’s name, drawn from astrology, perfectly captures the symbolic interplay between the sun and moon during eclipses, a theme masterfully depicted in Viktor’s pieces. 


The exhibition space enables the viewer to be enveloped in a world where gold and darkness play in harmony, creating an ethereal atmosphere that is both otherworldly and deeply rooted in cultural heritage. One of the standout pieces, titled from dawn to dusk, the soil is rich within us (2024), challenges the boundaries of visual art and offers a glimpse into how a blend of different cultures play across artistic horizons. The interplay of light and shadow in the piece evokes a sense of both divine illumination and cosmic mystery. The intricate patterns and motifs, inspired by traditional African art, invite viewers to uncover new layers of meaning with each closer look.



Viktor’s meticulous integration of elements from West African visual traditions of the Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Benin is stunning. Her use of ethically sourced materials, including Indian silk, natural raffia from Madagascar, 24-carat gold, banana yarn, and bronze, adds a layer of authenticity to her work. The use of 24-carat gold in particular is not merely decorative, but serves as a powerful symbol of divinity and enlightenment, reflecting the spiritual undertones of her work. These materials come together in stunning formations reminiscent of traditional West African pottery, jewellery, and woodwork, as well as Modernist African architecture. Her work not only pays homage to her heritage but also pushes the boundaries of contemporary art. “Her previous works used to be much more figurative. There is a real shift within this show which is much more abstract, looking at forms,” says Ella Lewis-Williams, Communications Manager at Pilar Corrias.


From left to right: black eclipse on golden stool, 2024, Amma, 2024, black indigo on golden stool, 2024


Another highlight is the series of sculptures that accompany the paintings. These three-dimensional works incorporate bronze and natural fibres, creating a tactile contrast that enhances the overall sensory experience. The new series of sculptures featured in this exhibit is especially noteworthy. The sculptures stand like guardians in the space: golden totem-like objects, inspired by traditional wooden Ashanti and Senufo stools, serve as eye-catching supports for beaded ceramic vessels. One of the standout pieces in the exhibition is a sculpture titled Amma’(2024) that seamlessly blends these luxurious materials with Viktor’s signature use of gold and black.


The curation of the exhibition is impeccable, guiding visitors through a narrative that feels both ancient and timeless. Williams adds, “It is a reference to a very historical astronomical text, which describes what happens during the solar eclipse with the sun and the moon. This opens the whole show, giving the idea of what is going on here. Lina is fascinated with different concepts and understandings of time and temporality and linearity, thinking much more about the African notions of time being circular. It is contrasted with textiles and materials, that are fragile. There are all of these different textures and materials, but also histories and places.”


The lighting is expertly arranged to highlight the shimmering gold accents and the rich textures of the materials, creating an immersive experience. Special mention should be made of the red walls in the exhibition, as opposed to the usual white. “She often does interventions with the gallery space. She is very interested in blue and red: this is a part of her palette.” explains Williams.




The integration of textiles and visual elements in this piece creates a multi-sensory journey that feels both real and otherworldly. The pieces provide a visual tapestry that invites viewers to explore and appreciate the depth of detail. Solar Angels & Lunar Lords  serves as a testament to Viktor’s innovative vision and her capacity to create art that is both intellectually stimulating and visually remarkable.


 

Avantika Pathania is a London-based writer and arts journalist.

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