In the first episode of the new series of A brush with... Ben Luke talks to Lina Iris Viktor about her influences—including writers, film-makers, musicians, and, of course, other artists—and the cultural experiences that have shaped her life and work.
Born in the UK in 1987, the Liberian-British artist works in painting, sculpture, photography, performance and installation. She creates works that reflect on her own identity amid broader themes—history and geopolitics, astrophysics and maths, ancient myths and belief systems—to explore universal implications of blackness.
Among much else, she discusses her love of Rebecca Horn’s Concert for Anarchy (1990); the influence of Chris Ofili, Louise Nevelson and Seydou Keïta; her enduring engagement with the writing of Jun'ichiro Tanazaki and Sylvia Plath; and her response to the films of Ingmar Bergman and Carl Dreyer.
And, as usual, we find out about her life in the studio, and ask the ultimate question: what is art for?
• In the Black Fantastic, Hayward Gallery, London, until 18 September
• Rite of Passage: Lina Iris Viktor with César, Louise Bourgeois, Louise Nevelson and Yves Klein, LGDR, London, until 17 September