Artist Spotlight: Lily Koto Olive

Lily Koto Olive is often on the move. This PILOTENKUECHE veteran is constantly developing her style and mediums based on her changing surroundings and space. Lily describes herself as a multi-disciplinary artist with a focus on painting. The countries she has found herself living and working in over her career constantly inspire her work.

To Lily, “life itself” was its own artform in Leipzig. Completing two separate rounds at PILOTENKUECHE, Lily has therefore spent much time exploring what the city had to offer. The “communities and social structures, the dance parties, dinner parties, the DJs, the bike rides and canal walks” of Leipzig captured Lily’s imagination. Inspired by collaborations while on the residency, the freeing and relaxed atmosphere of the PILOTENKUECHE studio also helped Lily develop skills in video art. Even love blossomed for her here in Leipzig, meeting her now husband at one of the events!

photos supplied by artist

Lily wants to “create experiences that give others a sense of peace and calm”. Often drawing on her own spirituality in her art, she therefore attempts to highlight the quieter parts of life. Her works covey a calm that capture specific moments. The vibrant colours of her paintings are tempered by fluid brushstrokes and softly-rendered figures.

Lily took part in the 2018 Wittgenstein exhibition “Wittgenstein 1918-2018″ in Vienna. The exhibition began on the 100th year anniversary of the publication of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Working closely with her husband Laurentiu, an expert on Wittgenstein’s work, Lily recalls how she edited one of her videos for the show while travelling by Flixbus from London to Vienna. Travel has always been a important part of Lily’s work and life.

In The Artist’s Larder: Salt, Smoke and Chocolate

Depending on the size and atmosphere of her surroundings, Lily’s mediums alter. Having produced video work, sound work, installation and sculpture as well as paintings, experimentation is key. Stating that the process is just as important as the final outcome, Lily wants to have fun while she works. Having worked with salt, smoke and even chocolate as part of her experimental practise, trial and error helps Lily develop her art.

The work of Lily Koto Olive is vibrant, colourful and multifaceted. Her dynamic process and experiences abroad continue to shape and evolve her work and how she thinks. PILOTENKUECHE pushed how she worked, her art becoming even more multi-disciplinary.

Watch Lily’s video piece Wittgenstein and the work of other former PK residents or friends of PK on pktv, curated by maeshelle west-davies for PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program.

Written by Rosie Shackleton