Bella Levikova

Bella Levikova was born in Kratov, a suburban village near Moscow, in the family of an artist and a peasant. Her father, a follower of the Wanderers’ tradition, took her to the Moscow museums – the Tretyakov Gallery and the Museum of New Western Art, where at the age of nine she first saw and forever remembered the works of Matisse, Braque and Picasso.

After graduating from school, Bella Levikova worked at the plant as a crane operator, then at the Institute of Veterinary Medicines. In 1961 she married the artist Vladimir Alekseevich Krivonosov. In 1964-70 she studied at the Faculty of History of Moscow State University, at the Department of History and Theory of Art. During her studies, she and her classmates were taken to the storerooms of the Tretyakov Gallery, talked about Malevich and showed his work.

In 1965, making an application with her four-year-old daughter, Bella Levikova intuitively pasted the scraps of paper onto a white sheet so that they formed a unity. She considers this abstract collage her first work of art, and work on it is a turning point in her destiny. Since that time, she has systematically engaged in art.

At the same time, Bella Levikova believed that she was doing something fundamentally different from what her father and husband did. Art for her is inseparable from self-knowledge and self-development. Of the foreign avant-garde artists whom she met in the late 60s from albums, the most interesting for her is Jackson Pollock. Bella Levikova willingly and often describes the experience of personal transformation, the expression of which is her painting, in poetic and prose texts with references to Gurdjieff and Mamardashvili. There is great interest in children’s creativity. Since the 1960s, Bella Levikova led a children’s drawing studio. She worked at the Combined Arts Center.

One of her first works was approved by the artist Ildar Khanov, at that time a student at the Surikov School, experimenting with abstract graphics and preparing for an internship with David Siqueiros. She also made friends with Francisco Infante.

Bella Levikova took part in the main exhibitions of Moscow nonconformists of the 70s – “Bulldozer” (1974), an exhibition in the pavilion “Beekeeping” (1975). Participated in apartment exhibitions, since 1975, exhibited in the City Committee of schedules on Malaya Gruzinskaya street. Her works were presented at the first Sotheby’s auction in Moscow (1988). In the late 1980s, exhibited abroad – in Madrid, Paris, Athens. In 1989, her retrospective was held in Munich. Since 2016, honorary member of the Russian Academy of Arts.

Bella Levikova’s works are in the Tretyakov Gallery, the Russian Museum, the New Museum in St. Petersburg, the Zimmerli Art Museum in New Jersey, the Kolodzei Art Foundation (USA).