‘I know that everything is changing around us and we are profoundly changing our being in this world.’
Argentinian-born artist Silvia Levenson, now a resident of Italy, has hopes that the pandemic will help people to come together to break cultural barriers and overcome xenophobia. Her glass sculpture Until Death Do Us Part is part of The Mint Museum collection.
Studio location: Lesa, Maggiore Lake, Italy
Who are artists that inspire you and your work?
Louise Bourgeois, Doris Salcedo, Loris Cecchini, and Eva Hesse
What is your favorite piece or artwork that you created and why?
I have two favorite pieces: Until Death Do Us Part and She Flew Away.
Until Death Do Us Part conveys my answer to the violence in homes, when someone who would protect and love you became the perpetrator. This topic is so actual now, as thousands of women and girls found the bravery of report abuse. Every year 50.000 women and girls are killed by a partner, ex-partner or relative. An now with the pandemic, lots of women are trapped. The fact that the cake is beautiful and made of glass is very functional to my idea.
She Flew Away started from a childhood memory. In Buenos Aires, Argentina I played for hours on the swing. At a certain moment I took off my shoes and climbed up on the wooden surface. I remember that ambiguous feeling. On the one hand I wanted to fly away, but on the other I was terrified of that possibility. Later that sculpture represented a loss: the loss of childhood, life or visibility.
How does your environment influence your art?
I need calm and loneliness to create. Living in an small village, in an old paper factory is great for me. But my inspiration comes from books, news and my memories.
Tell us about your new morning routine, including when you start your day and how you spend the early hours.
I start my day at 7 or 8 AM. Sometimes I walk for one hour, sometimes I start my day with meditation, and sometimes I feel the urgency of working in my studio. I can say that I have more energy in the morning. I usually don’t answer to my phone until 3 PM.
Are you finding new inspiration for your art during this shift of perspective in the world?
Now I am working on the idea of invisibility. Invisibility can be a joy or a sentence. I know that everything is changing around us and we are profoundly changing our being in this world. I will see how all this will influence my art work.
Tell us about your afternoon. Are you working from home, going to your studio?
I am so lucky to have my home and studio together. I combine my life between the two. I spend lots of my time on the computer in any case, but now my assistant cannot come to work with me, so I am making everything for myself and the process of producing sculptures in glass is very long, but I enjoy that!
What positive perspective changes in society would you like to see come from the pandemic?
I would like to see more empathy. When the virus started in China, in Italy several people in Italy thought that it was a “Chinese problem.” Many politicians and people were so racist even with citizens from China living in Italy. But after few days, Italians become the “new Chinese.” The same in the U.S. and United Kingdom. I hope people will understand that we are all humans, and that if the Coronavirus can expand and cross borders, why we are so connected to walls and borders?
How are you winding down your day? Have any recommendations for stress relievers to settle after another day done?
My advice would be to pay attention to the fake news. Being critical and looking for the right information is a sort or resistance high now.
What are you cooking? What’s your comfort food of choice?
My partner Marco is cooking and I love everything he makes.
What are you currently reading?
The Lies That Bind by Kwame Anthony Appiah.
What is your favorite music choice?