Please come to my exhibition in LINZ. Adress: Wimhölzelstr. 23, 4020 Linz, Tel. 0664 1329899 email@example.com), on Friday 12th September 2008 at 19:00.
A complete overview will be shown. This is a text about my work by Christian Schrenk, www.mediensalon.at:
The work of Nina Levett is decorative. At the first glance. The work of Nina Levett is exciting. At the second glance. The work of Nina Levett is full of tension if you dare to look below the surface. Surfaces have something tempting about them. It is easy to stay at the surface, to just see the aesthetic side and to stay with the deceiving and comfortable idea of a secure world. The decorative aspect is the main aspect, the wishes have been fulfilled, and one can indulge in a discussion about style and prestige.
This is one aspect of the work of Nina Levett. Situated in the problemfree world of beautiful things and elegant interiors the modular wallpapers speak the language of design magazines, haute couture and high-end accessories. The second glance shows a deeper view far beyond the surface.
When the porno queen Annie Sprinkle showed her most intimate inner self (her cervix) to a world-wide audience in the mid 90s, pink dots were icons of unconditional femininity, touching themes as self determination, exploitation and fertility. The phases of women with gigantic breasts and pink dots were followed by organic creeping floral designs and streams of sperm, that cover the modular wallpanels in neat ordered rows and seem to be calm visitors of a shopping mall. The sperm appear to be like synchronized swimmers and act as though they were gesticulate components of a coded graphic expression. Commas with tails that create decorative patterns.
A further ray of light in this strange superficial manner of looking at the superficial aspect of the story is the new work called “housewife camouflage”, that is drawn with the light hand of the fashion illustrator and makes the everyday reality of a wellknown female role vanish. Through design the woman melts with her “natural” environment, to reappear as a whore or a mother.
Nina Levett leads this discussion in a dialectic manner. As a woman she offers her work to a man’s world and her being-a-woman is important also as a form of self invention. To say she is a feminist is going too far, but she explores the traditional roles.
The viewer can see a real time documentation of the destructive aspect of role and sex traditions and expectations regarding herself and other women. The destruction and the fight against it. Using the techniques of speculation and deception, which are the oldest techniques of art. A virtuous game of ambivalences and also a dramatic drive (or rather being-driven), like a ball in the midst of forces. These forces could be “pain” and “role expectation” and “desire” and “love”. But it is not easy to say which, with a complex personality like Nina Levett.
There is another important aspect of surfaces: they protect. The paintings with pink dots and flowers have been covered with boat varnish. Today, years later, this protection shows itself as damaged by weather and with tainted yellow shades. Not senseless. The varnish still protects. But it also shows the characteristics of her work. Under the surface!
Christian Schrenk in July 2008 (translated by Nina Levett)