Svetlana K-Lié was born in Moscow where she graduated with a MA from the faculty of applied arts completed by additional studies at the famous I.I. Nivinsky Etching Art Studio and Babushkinski Ceramic Studio.
What's it made of? Bronze and glass.
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the piece? I was in Kurdish Iraq in a town called Arbil and I was told about their religion which involved a holy bird - the peacock. I've always liked that beautiful creature, so I played around with a lot of ideas for this sculpture. In the end I used these glass juicy fruits to represent the eyes in the feathers of the bird.
Where did you create the piece? I do all my sculpture in Moscow, though I live in Lewes. I had it transported here in a lorry, via Paris, where I have another studio - I'm an artist-in-residence in the Cite des Arts. The French are crazy about art, and they support it in a lot of different ways.
How long did it take to complete? About six months. Sculpture involves a lot of technical processes, which take a lot of time, like casting, and polishing.
What do you wear when you're working? A bikini. When I'm working I work in complete solitude and really become fully immersed in the activity. I want my body to become at one with the spirituality of the process: the smells, the textures, the form, the shapes. It's important not to wear any clothes.
What other artists have influenced this piece? None. I come from a poor background in Russia where I didn't learn a lot about art. When I won the Best Russian Sculptor award there in 2004, people kept saying "it looks like a Giacometti!" I kept asking myself 'who is this Giacometti?' I decided that the first thing I would do with my prize money was get a flight to Paris and find out. I like his stuff: it's very spiritual and deep. But it didn't influence my work. It all comes from within myself.
What's your favourite gallery? It's the same story with galleries. I haven't much experience of them. I'm too busy cooking, or making sculptures.
What picture would you hang from a desert island palm tree? A very minimalist calligraphic design. A single black line on a white background. Something simple which would give space to my imagination.
Svetlana's Feathers will be exhibited at Artists United, The Foundry, 9th-l 1th July
Interview by Alex Leith Viva Lewes, July 2010