Illusionary World: Double Exposure in Inga Levy Graphics
A Kyiv artist, illustrator. Studied at the book graphics faculty of the NTUU KPI. Her artwork is kept in private and public collections in Ukraine, Europe, and the USA. She now works on preserving the photo archive of the Hutsul artist Paraska Plytka-Horytsvit.
— I am an artist for as long as I can remember – I created cityscape paintings, oil paintings, but the approaches have shifted in recent years. Now I am interested in other media, in particular I am trying to work with installations, mosaic.
On the day of the invasion, I was in Lviv, from where I was about to go to the village of Kryvorivnia to help my colleagues furnish the Paraska Plytka-Horytsvit museum, which was supposed to open on March 1. And after making sure that my parents, who stayed in Kyiv, are safe and sound, I went there. There we spent four days in a surreal state of reading horrendous news among the peaceful mountains, where only the church bells were a sign of what was happening.
From there I returned to Lviv, but later the city became so jammed that we even settled in a flower shop. So, my two colleagues and I went to Lithuania, where Darius Vaičekauskas hosted us at Menų zona residence. Following the Kyiv region liberation, I returned to the capital. Then in Kyiv, I was most impressed by the “anti-tank hedgehogs”. It seems like in a visual aspect they match the city.
Now I’m in Menų zona again, in Nida, because I have to realize the project I planned back in March. It is a very informal residence on the beautiful Curonian Spit located a few kilometres to the russian border. I don’t know if this is considered a normal life. But some action helps me to overcome anxiety.
In Kyiv, I was most impressed by the “anti-tank hedgehogs”. It seems like they match the city visually.
On my way to the Carpathians, I found myself looking out the bus window at the mountains, but still seeing explosions from the news I read while I could connect to the web.
It’s not that there was some idea, I literally saw it that way – in a double exposure. In general, I am an artist of “I call them like I see them” type. If I chose to overlay real photos, it would be a hodgepodge, as I don’t have a mountain landscape in front of me every day. Besides, I do not have the right to directly use other people’s pictures from the news.
I am an artist of “I call them like I see them” type.
So, on February 26, I started drawing such images with double exposure. It seemed important for me to keep being an artist in this situation. As a result, the stories of my life and war events create new meanings or convey an emotional state when superimposed.
The series forced me to be involved in the war in my country, wherever I was. But sometimes I notice that my mind is lacking a certain resource, and it turns into masochism. Lately I have been procrastinating, hesitant to approach painting: I feel that I do not have the strength or the right to depict new woes. Sometimes there are even thoughts of quitting it all completely, but thanks to the feedback of some people and bearing in mind that one cannot surrender, I carry on.
I draw with a graphite pencil on paper in square format albums, because that’s what I had, such a funny children’s album and a pencil with me on February 24. I spend from 20 minutes to an hour and a half on one picture, but news monitoring and searching for relevant images can last from several hours to several days. At first, I did all the drawing in the evening, because I didn’t know what would happen tomorrow, whether I would have time and opportunity to work.
This series was shown in such galleries as “Svitlo” in Lviv, Structura in Sofia, Bread & Salt in San Diego, at the Withdraw the War exhibition in Tel Aviv and in Piazza Ukraina at the Venice Biennale in the form of posters along with the works of other Ukrainian artists. Two works are put up for sale at the Christine König Galerie charity auction, and one more is on sale in a form of the lithographically printed “Seeing=Living” project posters, which raises funds for the purchase of vision devices for the Armed Forces.
At first, I did all the drawings in the evening, because I didn’t know what would happen tomorrow, whether I would have time and opportunity to work.