member of:Observers of the Interdependence of Domestic Objects and Their Influence on Everyday Life

This group has been active for a long time and has already made some remarkable assertions which render life simpler from the practical point of view. For example, I move a pot of green color five centimeters to the right, I push in the thumbtack beside the comb and if Mr. A (another adherent like me) at this moment puts his volume about bee-keeping beside a pattern for cutting out vests, I am sure to meet on the sidewalk of the avenida Madero a woman who intrigues me and whose origin and address I never could have known...
--Remedios Varo

(Slideshow is of Artwork by Remedios Varo)
By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.
--Franz Kafka

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Beast Within


I discovered Lena Revenko on Flickr, really an amazing site in that way...she paints directly on old book pages or textured paper, such as origami paper. She's a miniaturist, then, with amazing control of her little brush, and she paints these really creative creatures, that both hide behind the designs of the page, or camouflage themselves in there, or leap out at you, very brightly, refusing to be missed. These creatures carry stories with them, stories from folklore, forgotten stories that come back in nightmares or dark fantasies, stories as old as human history and older. You can see that from their very strangeness.

"Owl's Queen"

"Me and Him"

"Everyone has unexpressed feelings and problems, says Revenko, and the strange creatures represent them. They scratch from inside and disrupt inner peace."
'Sometimes we don't want to deal with them seriously, and hope they will vanish, but they won't disappear, they only mask themselves as a part of our familiar background...I draw them as little strange animals, sometimes friendly, but always with teeth....Maybe I paint this way because I grew up in two different places, and spent a lot of time as a teenager trying to be just like everybody else while I really wasn't," says Revenko, in an interview with Jenny Hammond before her show, "Keepers of Little Secrets," earlier this year.

In the first image, "Depression," those repressed feelings have turned the person blue, laid her out on the floor, and her issues are coming to deal with her, whether she likes it or not...

"My Family"

Note in the above image how the creatures really are camouflaged in their environment, though they hang around the person's neck--one doesn't really have to wonder what he thinks of his relatives? And below, if you look closely, you can see that the animals have been painted to be emerging from the leaves that create the origami paper's pattern.


"Her Rabbit"

"Noriko's Friend"

"Schrödinger's Cat"

Schrödinger's Cat

In 1935, an Austrian physicist, Erwin Schrödinger, created a thought experiment to expose what he felt were ridiculous problems with certain theories being developed in the field of quantum physics which suggested that all possibilities exist simultaneously until the moment of observation and measurement, at which time, only the measured possibility exists. Everything is possibility until the situation is actively defined. And the situation is defined by your observation of it.

The thought experiment is described on Wikipedia:

"Schrödinger's Cat: A cat, along with a flask containing a poison, is placed in a sealed box shielded against environmentally induced quantum decoherence. If an internal Geiger counter detects radiation, the flask is shattered, releasing the poison that kills the cat. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that after a while, the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. Yet, when we look in the box, we see the cat either alive or dead, not a mixture of alive and dead."

Some people, like me, did not find this experiment ridiculous, but rather exciting.

In 1957, Hugh Everett came up with "the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics," which suggested that:
"both alive and dead states of the cat persist, but are decoherent from each other. In other words, when the box is opened, that part of the universe containing the observer and cat is split into two separate universes: one containing an observer looking at a box with a dead cat, and one containing an observer looking at a box with a live cat." (Wikipedia)

If you take this a step further, the way you think when you're opening the box is going to affect the outcome: on the one hand, you're almost like a god in your ability to “choose your own adventure,” yet the fact remains that you are driven by your subconscious, your fears (recognized or not), and your most branding memories, and so you really aren't in control. what you get in front of you, many times, is that angry dog or bizarre, toothy creature Lena likes to paint, and it seems so unfair, and even illogical. But it is logical--it's your logic. What Schrödinger's cat experiment offers us is the idea that other options, better options, are there for us to access, somehow, it's all in how we look at it. In his experiment, we decide as we observe; it is very important to be aware, then, of our habits of observation. To face our demons, as Lena's art also suggests, so that they might disintegrate, instead of constantly tugging at our sleeves, fogging our glasses, and messing up our opportunities.


Lena was born in Minsk, but emigrated with her family to Israel when she was 14.Her website and blog can be found here.

"You are So Big Already"

"Of Course, He's Mad too"


  1. What an interesting find, zoe. Lena Revenko has wonderfully grasped the notions of yuxtaposition and layered reality, with so much feeling. And the cat's experiment is really amazing. Fantastic post, thank you!

  2. Wonderful post Zoe, again your find and talent to present it becomes a gift for all of us.
    I really like Lena's art.

  3. sylvia--
    the cat experiment is fascinating, isn't it? i'm practicing, haha (no torturing cats, though).
    glad you like her, since i've been barraging you with her art for days, now :)

  4. I love Asian art, and these drawings are amazingly beautiful and fascinating!

    Thanks Zoe!

  5. Merci Zoe de nous faire découvrir cette artiste,j'adore .....à très bientôt