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Leni Dothan is both artist and architect. She is interested in psychological and physical structures, reconstructing narratives from biblical, classical and mythological worlds to then deconstruct them into concepts founded on the most intimate of human fears. Leni decodes the DNA of Renaissance mythical icons: new interpretations allow for new interactions in her works.
Leni grew up in Israel, a country of conflict and war, far from the beauty and values of Italian Renaissance iconography. These instead became a prism through which she critically considers the contradicting roles of women in different cultures. She examines the transition of early Renaissance images from the religious realm into contemporary visual culture. She argues that Renaissance art created a set of visual contracts that, to this day, continue to define male/ female discourse in social, political and cultural contexts. As a child Leni was exposed to this world of renaissance art and charmed by the capacity of human beings to create such masterpieces. This directly contradicted the cultural circumstances she was surrounded by, where women are continuously deprived of their rights to act, express, create and think clearly. Her work represents her reaction to this paradox.
Leni Dothan studied religious art history for many years, specifically the depiction of the Virgin and Christ. She believes that this iconography has defined how motherhood is perceived in our history of art and the artist is keen to challenge this.
Leni has carried out a number of projects that explore a core notion in her work: the male-female/ mother-son relationship. The Christian ‘Pietá’ is central to her recent projects. This theme depicts Mary holding the body of her dead son, where the nobel acceptance of the son’s death, unnatural for a parent, contains within it the classical male indoctrination of the female role. The concept of ‘Bereavement’ is entangled with the notion of “Being Israeli” where, as in the Israeli colloquialism, soldiers are interpolated into “sons”. Similarly driven, site-specific projects include ‘Crude Ashes’, a solo show at Temple Church, ‘We Kissed and then we Died’, ‘Mine’, ‘Sleeping Madonna’ and ‘Mother and Child in a Window’ commissioned by Jewish Book Week at Kings Palace.
As part of her PhD, Leni is currently working on collaborative projects together with the Chemistry department of UCL, London. This is the perfect symbiosis between science and art, aiming to bring awareness to the problem of air pollution through public art. Using her mother and child icons together with pollution sensitive materials, the invisible will become visible.
The continuation of Leni’s practice will focus on both aspects of her work: the new icon and the bridge between architecture and art. The first, in response to the urgent cultural/ social need for new depiction of women in the art world, strives to create new icons of women. The second, through large scale installations, explores new meeting points between different mediums: architecture, photography, video, sculpture and carpentry. The artist envisions a world where art is not hanging on the walls but becomes part of the walls. ‘Every photograph, every sculpture or video work I make will become part of the architecture - walls, floors and ceilings’.
Haaretz, 04th April 2012
Entering the Tel Aviv studio of artist Lenny Dinar Dothan one encounters hospitality amid charming disorder. Sawdust is scattered everywhere, among the saws, rulers, pencils and books. Propped up against the wall are some of her works, among them a painting in which she is seen nursing her little son against the backdrop of an arch. The classical composition immediately evokes associations with the Florentine school of the Italian Renaissance ...
The Guardian, 23th October 2015
It’s getting harder to offend people. In an age when congressmen tweet photos of their erections, gunmen take selfies before going on rampages and columnists call migrants cockroaches, the bar for moral outrage has never been higher. Poor artists! They used to be able to nab headlines by dunking a figurine of Jesus in urine, or pasting porn magazine clippings over a painting of the Virgin Mary. Today, Gilbert & George can write “God Loves ...
academy noW, 08th March 2016
We would like to celebrate this very special day this year presenting Leni Dothan’s latest video installation, Never Never. She is and inspiring, smart, young woman and talented artist who is constantly challenging the status quo both in her personal life and her art practice. Her works use Renaissance art references to reflect on present issues and taboos, both personal and universal.
Invaluable, 07th March 2018
Leni Dothan studied religious iconography at UCL for seven years before she became a mother. After she gave birth and went back to her studies, she noticed the lack of motherhood narratives in museums, and how the religious iconography of the ‘Virgin/mother’ had influenced her thinking towards motherhood. ...
Designcollector, 09th September 2018
This innovative art project by Leni Dothan was prompted by the desire to raise a stronger awareness towards the invisible enemy that is air pollution. Together with the Chemistry department of UCL, Leni created these photographs on 200 Portland stones using London’s air pollution
Born in Tel Aviv, Israel. Living and researching in London.
2015 - present || Practice-Led PhD, Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, London, UK
2013 - 2015 || Fine art media MFA (Distinction)
2013 - 2015 || Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, London, UK
2004 - 2009 || Bezalel Academy of Art & Design, Jerusalem, Israel
2004 - 2009 || Department of Architecture B. Arch
2007 || Student exchange program, Gerrit Ritveld Academie, Amsterdam, NL
PRIZES AND AWARDS
2017 || 5 shortlisted winners, selected by Academy Now for 2017, Italy
2017 || Residency - August - Hå gamle prestegard, Norway
2017 || Polluted Beauty - The Dean’s Strategic Fund Award, UCL, London, UK
2017 || Polluted Beauty - UCL’s Friends Trust, award, London, UK
2016 || First prize for Arts & Humanities, UCL Doctoral School Research Poster, UK
2013 || The Slade Graduate Fine Art Media Overseas Scholarships award
2017 || Birth and Death, Hå Gamle Prestegard, Norway
2017 || Dead End, Holy Congregational church, Washington D.C, USA
2016 || The 13th, St. Cyprian’s Church, London, UK
2016 || Crude Ashes, Temple Church, London, Uk
2015 || We Kissed and Then We Died, Slade School of Fine Art, London, UK
2012 || Florentinit, Ha’Hanut Gallery, Tel-Aviv, Israel
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBTIONS
2018 || Slade show 2018, Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, London, U.K.
2018 || You Can Do It and You Will Do It, MAMbo museum of contemporary and modern art, Bologna, Italy
2017 || pinzeta 5, Red House, Tel Aviv, Israel
2017 || Nasty Women: Architecture, Anise Gallery, London, UK
2017 || The Intercontinental, Roaming ROOM Gallery, London, UK
2016 || Art Below, the Old Truman Brewery, London, UK
2016 || Mother and Child in a Window, Kings Place - Jewish Book Week, London, UK
2016 || OFF Course, Contemporary Art Fair, Brussels, Belgium
2015 || MEVannucci Gallery, MEVannucci + Academy Now, Italy
2015 || Love, Jewish Museum, London, UK
2015 || Sacrifice, Jewish Museum, London, UK
2014 || Slade Interim Show, London, UK
2014 || Latitude Film Festival, UK
2014 || Samia Gallery, London UK
2013 || Fresh Paint - contemporary art fair, video greenhous, Tel-Aviv, Israel
2017 || Trond Borgen, A labyrinthine tragedy, Stavanger Aftenblad, 19.10.2017, Norway
2017 || Noemie Benchimol, Tenoua, N ̊ 168, June 2017, Paris
2017 || Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception Volume 14 - Jesus, De Gruyter, Berlin | Boston
2016 || Vered Fishbein, Saloona, 26.10.2016, Israel
2015 || Aaron Rosen, The holy-book bomb: is this the most offensive artwork ever?, The Guardian, 23.10.2015, UK
2012 || Italy's Florentine style comes to life in a south Tel Aviv art studio, By Daniel Rauchwerger, cover of Gallery-Ha'aretz, Apr.04, 2012
2018 || July - Mademoiselle, CENTRE RÉGIONAL D’ART CONTEMPORAIN OCCITANIE / PYRÉNÉES - MÉDITERRANÉE
2018 || September - Portland's Pollution Rehab Centre, B-Side Art festival, Portland, UK
2018 || September - Polluted Beauty, UCL’s Main Quad, University College London, UK