One corner of Lina Iris Viktor’s Manhattan studio is covered in a mindscape of images—from work by West African studio photographer Seydou Keïta to that by 15th-century French illuminator and miniaturist Jean Fouquet and British painter David Hockney.
Viktor, who was born in 1987 in the U.K. to Liberian parents, doesn’t discriminate when it comes to time periods and geographies. Past, present, and future are one cyclical continuum that she mines for inspiration, and different cultures and communities converge in a singular, universal experience—“the oneness of things,” as she puts it.
The result of this expansive perspective is a body of work that blends a dizzying range of references and styles: the figurative with the abstract; Babylonian goddesses and Western madonnas with Japanese geishas; mathematics with mysticism; rich, multivalent black tones with shimmering, luminescent gold and blue. These allusions come together in images that are alluringly difficult to put a finger on. Though they are organized into series whose names speak to cosmic space, deep time, and fraught history—“Constellations,” “Materia Prima,” “Dark Continents”—they all feel like slightly different angles of one enigmatic point of view.