When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Lévai began creating work that was darker. Through her artwork Pandemic, she transforms a book into a sculptural sphere of folded pages, symbolizing Planet Earth with the seed vessels as clusters of the virus. On this work, Lévai says that she sees "the wave of lives lost to COVID, the sea of death. It's an attempt to visually represent that devastation."
Similarly, her work Spread uses symmetrical blossoms representing the microscopic view of the coronavirus. Dealing with the theme of life and death, the materials used in this piece such as a dried slice of pomegranate, seeds, pistils, and blossom leaves; are laid out on the page to imitate the spread and mutations of COVID-19.
The work of artist Marianne Lévai straddles the boundary between science and art. Her abstract installations often incorporate organic elements like seeds, twigs, stems, and strips of bark. She uses these materials to visualize natural algorithms found in the complex structures of cells, tissues, and molecules—the foundations of life. For A Moment Materialized, she transforms books into sculptures using wax and dried plants. The result is a haunting representation of the microscopic structure of the coronavirus molecule as well as its devastating spread across the globe.
13.75" x 16.5" x 19"
Book, stitching frames,
magnolia leaves, seed vessels, wax
"The dark irony is that while this virus
is so destructive, it is also aesthetically beautiful
in a way...I am trying to capture this duality and find beauty in something frightening."
14.5" x 12" x 3"
Book, dried plant parts,
Japanese paper, molding paste, wax