Exhibition 17: Sophie T. Lvoff // "The Green Princess" // 2021
Photographs: LightJet prints, dibond mounted “The Bride” “The Smells”
Curtain: Photo printed fabric with hand embroidery, 4 brass bells “Lenora’s Window”
Sculpture: Glass & sand beads, plaster, wood “The Tirette”
We do not walk alone. We go through our lives with the experience of others and travel in their pasts. Our story is not ours in solitude. In moments, there are glimpses where we encounter an impression that speaks louder than others, a guidance, a reminder. Stories which burn brighter. Sometimes we echo each other in what or how we do.
Sophie T. Lvoff met Leonora Carrington in spirit.
The Green Princess is Sophie’s expression of that meeting, of her and Leonora’s life combined, two feminists, both artists, both wives.
Workers in the metaphysical, an appreciation of the mystical, each living with their art and life intertwined.
In her youth Leonora Carrington was deemed mentally unstable. She was a female artist, outspoken and unique, declared by her family and the public to be of another world. This type of female figure, an outsider, commonly described as both a harm to society and oneself, is a persona Sophie often gravitates to in her practice. Researching Carrington and reading her texts, Lvoff was compelled to visit the one-time home of Leonora and the artist Max Ernst in the south of France. The image of the window printed on the curtain is from that home. As the curtain moves with the airflow of the space it is easy to fixate on it and imagine Leonora’s gaze, the fabric softly billowing, transportive, having a life of its own. Her breath is there.
Sophie’s practice is multifaceted but grounded in photography. At the start of this piece she combed her images from the past year in Marseille, searching for ones that referenced her and Leonora’s shared experience. The faceless bride. The bride as sorceress, the perfume vials as a potion for the female enchantress. The veil and the vitrine, both allowing glittering glimpses of what is inside. The female, on display, in the center, all power and then powerless after the culmination of the moment. Possessing everything from the start, only to become possessed and then forever in an infinite struggle. Full of anxiety to be consumed by others.
And there is the “tirette”. You may wonder? As an object it’s sole function is to pull aside a curtain, yet here it is connected to a hook on the ceiling, presented as an impotent rod. But like the bells on the bottom of the curtain, which hang without clear purpose at the end of lines of embroidery which are purely decorative, it holds a certain magnetic power and energy in its color, material and placement. Both the beads and the bells are Sophie’s family heirlooms, coming from Iran, collected decades ago by the grandmother Sophie never knew.
When I stand in the room surrounded by all these layers and stories, I ask myself if I have been bewitched into becoming the bride myself. We are all witches and we are all brides, of sorts. Let one life inform the next and in turn, inform the others. We all travel together on the infinite chain.