Leni Dothan is an Israeli-born artist, architect and researcher based in London, dealing with the overlooked representations of women and especially mothers in art history and contemporary culture. Through the prism of a mother to a boy, a foreigner in the West, she creates sculptures, photographs, videos and installations, that suggest new narratives other than the perfect and ideal mother-and-child relationship. Leni Dothan also works collaboratively with scientists to raise awareness on eco-political subjects and environmental issues.
Leni is interested in the psychological and physical structures. She reconstructs narratives from biblical, classical and mythological worlds in order to deconstruct them into concepts founded on the most intimate fears. Leni’s PhD research from the Slade School of Fine Arts, UCL, led her to explore Christian iconography of Mary as emotional and ideological prisons for women beyond its Western origins. The artist decodes the DNA of Renaissance mythical icons and examines the transition of early Renaissance images from the religious realm into contemporary visual culture. Renaissance art created a set of visual contracts that, to this day, continue to define male-female discourse in social, political and cultural contexts. By creating a set of alternative images, Leni aims to touch the less discussed and underrepresented aspects of the mother and child relationship and help the public to question their own bodies, social norms and political structures.
Working collaboratively with scientists and the public on eco-political subjects is another side and integral part of Leni’s ongoing work. In 2014, she collaborated with UCL scientists to build a public sculpture which encapsulates the most advanced technologies to test sound and air pollution. Since 2017, the artist has been collaborating with the UCL Chemistry Department on large-scale projects dealing with air pollution. The chemists created for her pollution-reactive and pollution-degrading materials to use as her paintbrush for the Portland Stone Rehabilitation Centre. Leni is currently working with scientists in order to create a purifying sculpture that could fight air pollution as well as harming bacteria, including the Covid-19 virus, and would invite passers-by to a mental and physical contemplation, meditation and purification.
Leni Dothan presented her work in museums around the world, such as the Jewish Museum in London, the MAMbo Museum in Bologna and the Centre Régional d’Art Contemporain Occitanie in France, as well as galleries, including Richard Saltoun Gallery and Hå Gamle Prestegard in Norway.
Photo credit: Christian Dyson
Together with the Chemistry department of UCL, Leni Dothan created a massive work of art using London air pollution as her paint brush and 200 Portland stones. The Portland stones that were exposed to London’s air pollution, carry upon them images of a child’s face held in his mothers hands reminiscent of Renaissance of young Christ scenes. The stones were returned to Portland’s fresh air to be healed. Visitors were invited to observe the healing process over the course of B-Side Multimedia Art Festival.
Follow Leni Dothan on Instagram@leni-dothan