Does God Play Dice with the Universe?

In her universe, Inna Levinson (*1984, L’viv, Ukraine) is a playful and destructive demiurge. Like Shiva, who knows, everything will be distracted, but still takes care of things while they exist. This type of a creator is not laden with too much sentiment towards his creations: “I construct beautiful, colourful, even though brutal world. I am the creator of my worlds and I dominate each figure... I look down on them and let them rebel. In the end, they will be crushed by a glass pane, humans and monsters alike”.

Levinson’s recent works: paintings (bas-reliefs) made with modelling clay, not paint; her silicon sculptures as well as installations have something in common – lack of respect or cautiousness, and abundance of irony. Being a real child of postmodernism, Levinson has no problem to appropriate genres, materials, traditional motives; she quotes, mixes and twists images and titles, alienates them and assigns them a new meaning.

At the first sight, her bas-reliefs are the hybrid of Bruegel and “Where is Waldo” children books. Her human characters, with oversized genitalia and lips, exist in a world with no clear definition of good and bad. The dreamlike and timeless universe of bright colours and elaborated sceneries loaded with details. In „The Flight“ (2014) Levinson combines the motive of “war in heaven” with her vision of a plane crash. Passengers falling from the sky in flames are grabbing the air, in attempt to get hold of each other for either the last fight or the last embrace. In “The Suicide Bridge” (2014) the famous scenery of Monet’s garden in Giverny is recreated in modelling clay; a closer look reveals, though, that instead of famous water lilies, there are corpses floating in the water under the Japanese bridge.

Since Inna Levinson started exploring new material – silicon, her sculptures became brighter and more abstract. Like the endlessly protruded “Finger of God”, or “The
Sparkle” (2014), which resembles a twisted orange paw, a mutated bronze paw from Bourgeois’ “Give or Take II”(1991). It seems that any artefact undergoes an inevitable transformation when it crosses the membrane, which confines Levinson’s artistic universe.

With her installations, Inna Levinson wants to escape an artificial environment of the white cube and imbed her art into the reality of a private home. By confronting these two contexts, she also confronts different, often opposite views on (contemporary) art. In her installation “What is good art” (2011), for example, she recreated the artefacts (tapestry, kitty-calendar, artisan clay plate etc.) of her grandmother’s home. An average person would rather consider these objects to be more “artistically valuable” then, for example, a Duchamp or a Spoerri.

The title of Levinson’s recent installation - “The red room”(2014) - is inspired by the Matisse’s masterpiece. Part of the exhibition space is painted red, separating it from the rest of the room. Inside the red space, Inna Levinson arranges various objects - parts of her disassembled sculptures. Taken apart and juxtaposed in the installation, these objects generate new images and new meanings. The artist changes and rearranges the parts constantly, the game will go on until there are no possibilities left or the installation becomes perfect.

Lately it became trendy to proclaim the end of postmodernism, the product of WWII, with its disrespect to authority, disbelief in big ideas and ironic attitude towards the world. Post-postmodernism was to become the era of peaceful compromises. However today we, again, have to face the world, which we are not able to explain or accept without a great deal of healthy yet morbid humour, inherent to the works of Inna Levinson.