“The whole creative process is an endless research of topics, materials, reading of modern philosophy, scientific literature and thinking about the future in the context of ecology and modern technologies.” - the artists, Lilia Li-Mi-Yan & Katherina Sadovsky
Q: What led you both to become concept sculptors?
A: We came to contemporary art from photography. [We] both graduated from Rodchenko Art School (Moscow), [in] the course of documentary photography. We were looking and searching a lot and, in different works, turned to different media. Sculpture is only one of the languages for a contemporary artist.
Q: What inspired the collection you submitted?
A: Two years ago, we were at the art-residency on Lake Baikal. With all the beauty and greatness that we were contemplating every day, we also observed piles of plastic garbage, which tourists left behind. We realized that humans use the resources of nature with unthinkable carelessness — abuse and traumatize it!
After the residency, we completed two exhibitions – “Plastic x-ray”, in the Olkhon Forest, and “Marmor”, in the abandoned marble quarry. We gently incorporated our art-works into nature.
Back in Moscow, we could no longer remain indifferent to the problem of plastic waste. We started the activists’ movement – collecting plastic at the territory of museums, art and educational institutions. We called our project “Where is my plastic bag?”. It consists of three parts: the collection of plastic, its recycling and processing, and creation of sculptures from the processed material.
The work "Bacteria" is the result of testing of material in the conditions of our studio. We were developing the idea of the bacteria modified by scientists that will help to solve the problem of plastic waste by eating it.
Q: Can you describe the types of materials you use and your creative process?
A: Today, our materials are recycled items or recycled materials that were first sent to landfill as garbage. Now we are working with different types of plastics, and in the next project, we want to try to work with glass, also recycled.
The whole creative process is an endless research of topics, materials, reading of modern philosophy, scientific literature and thinking about the future in the context of ecology and modern technologies.
Q: We were very impressed with your Best in Show piece, titled Bacteria 10, as well as the rest of the Bacteria group. Tell us more about this piece/series.
A: Bacteria are a small visual part of the project about plastic in the modern world. We want create a collaboration with the scientists researching polymers. Bacteria are something like new organisms formed under a layer of plastic that is buried in the soil and in the ocean. It is like evolution, the creation of a new life. We know so little about it.
Q: What do you hope for viewers to take away from your work?
A: Our project “Where is my bag?” implies [activism] from our side. We all understand that art does not solve the questions, but to raise the question and let reflect on it is in our power. And if each of us will begin to treat the planet with a bit more of responsibility - that will be our contribution.
Q: How do you view your art career in five years?
A;: We are going to continue to work at the intersection of art and science, to look for new materials, new statements. After all, there are so many problems in this world, that we won’t be able to stay without work!
About the artists:
Li-Mi-Yan & Sadovsky - a duo of Russian artists Lilia Li-Mi-Yan (1971) and Katherina Sadovsky (1985). They’ve been working together since 2016. Their versatile approach to art practice covers such artistic media as photography, painting, sculpture, photo books, installation, video, sound, interference in to public and natural spaces, social work to collect plastic waste in Moscow.
Li-mi-yan & Sadovsky explore internal human and social topics, which can be called problems. The question of death, of human violence against other human, against nature, against oneself, as if it erases the boundary between reality – where is actually alive, and where is dead? Artists critically analyze these issues, inconveniently intruding into nature with digital images on polymeric materials, comparing this art gesture with the physical and mental trauma of all mankind.
Artists wonder why the cruel online pictures of victims of wars, terrorist attacks, diseases do not horrify the viewer anymore. The image of suffering follows someone's joyful holiday photo and almost equivalent to the user of social networks. Thus, any picture splits and loses its original meaning. Li-Mi-Yan & Sadovsky allegedly play with death, reproducing severe injuries with the help of plastic and naive drawings in portraits with ideal faces, psychologically affecting the viewer in their own way of trauma.
To learn more about the artists and view their work, please visit limiyan.com/blog.
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