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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Liliya Lifanova

Amagansett, NY
USA

The work of Liliya Lifanova (American, born in Kyrgyzstan) work explores themes of containment, repair, restraint, disability, and displacement, rituals of servitude, notions of power, and the social memory of a political system destroying itself from within. Working between art, theater, and material investigations, Lifanova’s recent performance practice depends on research and collaboration over an extended time, fused with her deep engagement with physical creation and manufacture. The resulting large-scale productions communicate a sense of displacement and migration, while grappling with the sense of self. She uses objects and systems of defense and resistance as vehicles to explore the shifting, precarious, and fragile balance of opposing structures: past and future, black and white, joined and divided. Lifanova received her art education from The City University of New York, Brooklyn College and a Master of Fine Arts Degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Lifanova is currently an Artist In Residence in Spain where she is working on a video project dealing with transience and nomadism.

Feminist Artist Statement

I question whether I am a feminist or if my feminism is a reaction to a relationship I once had with a certain male painter. After all, why would a feminist ask for his canvas throw-aways from the 60-foot paintings he makes? What kind of a feminist would then lovingly iron these scraps so as to shred them after into miniature rectangles? What kind of a feminist would then spend endless hours rolling each section into the very tight little barrels? And then, what kind of a feminist would call these futile objects her paintings? And what kind of a feminist would spend three months thinking about if she even wants to be a part of a Feminist Art Base? And after that time, what kind of a feminist would still have no feminist statement to hand in? Yes, I am definitely conflicted about whether I am a feminist or just responding to a failed relationship with a male painter. And being wrapped so tightly in my emotions towards this man, doesn’t that position me as something of a feminist reject? Contrary to the idea that we women artists are NOT always so wrapped up in our emotions? But in fact, my work, everything from the get-go (because he was there from the get-go and still is), is a response to him. When he salvaged, I ripped, and when he dripped, I stomped, and when he was hanging them pointing down, I was hanging them pointing up. And then I began to whip the damned things, and felt bad afterward, and repaired them using safety pins. Now, what kind of a feminist does that? And while he was blowing smoke out of his magnificent pipe, I was eluding through video and other plastic gestures to the struggle within, whether to blow the smoke or not to blow, and of course he won. And what kind of a feminist am I if he won? Yes, I am definitely a failed feminist. I am the type of feminist that still believes that there are battles to be fought, matter to be rescued, and images to be produced that imply a chance at repair. I am a failed feminist because I believe now (now that I have exhausted myself with the fight) that gentleness and the freedom to fail are the way to free myself from a relationship I already left behind.

<p>Untitled (Newspapers from the residence of Robert family, January - March 2011, Llorence del Penedes))</p>

Untitled (Newspapers from the residence of Robert family, January - March 2011, Llorence del Penedes))

I fragmented a stack of newspapers into small sections and then rolled over 15000 pieces to create this work.

Untitled (Newspapers from the residence of Robert family, January - March 2011, Llorence del Penedes))

I fragmented a stack of newspapers into small sections and then rolled over 15000 pieces to create this work.

Untitled (Newspapers from the residence of Robert family, January - March 2011, Llorenc del Penedes), detail

I fragmented a stack of newspapers into small sections and then individually rolled each piece creating over 15000 parts that compose this piece.

Untitled (rolled filter paper, black thread)

I fragmented filter paper into small sections and then rolled each piece into tight barrels, binding each with black nylon thread.

Untitled (whipped, black spins)

I used a bull whip to break apart a sheet of paper proportioned to the golden ratio. I then used safety pins to reattach each piece.

Untitled (canvas rolled with multicolored paint)

I fragmented a sheet of canvas into small sections and rolled each one, bonding the edge with acrylic paint.

Untitled (rolled striped ticking fabric with thread)

Ticking fabric rolled with acrylic paint with thread.

Untitled (scraped knees, black on white)

Using a sharp object I break up the substrate of this material.

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Amagansett, NY
USA

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Text, images, audio, and/or video in the Feminist Art Base are copyrighted by the contributing artists unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.