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ART PARIS ART FAIR at the Grand Palais from April 5 to 8, 2018


The event that Art Paris represents for five days, allows us to offer this year to the public, collectors and amateurs, the work of Ra‛anan Levy, in a space worthy of a major monographic exhibition.

A French-Israeli artist born in 1954, Ra‛anan Levy divides his time between Paris and Florence. He is in line with the great figurative artists of the 21st century. Three major solo exhibitions have already been devoted to him at the Maillol museums in Paris and Banyuls-sur-Mer in recent years, among others, both in France and abroad (London, New York, Tel Aviv…). He works in several mediums, from painting to mixed media, through various printmaking techniques, but also drawing (charcoal, pastels, pencils, watercolor). He fills his yearly diaries with sketches, sometimes barely sketched, sometimes extremely accomplished.

Among his favorite subjects, we will find here, apart from the “classic” theme of Western art of the self-portrait, others much more surprising: the “pigments” (called “essential elements”, views of the artist’s studio), sinks, manholes. The “empty spaces”, apartments abandoned by their occupants, littered with traces of multiple and mysterious lives; populated with windows and doors most often ajar, past and future comings and goings, suggest the possibilities of ghosts.

These banal objects of our daily life, which we hardly look at, or at least without lending them a noble aesthetic interest, worthy of artistic representation, undergo, under the hand of Ra‛anan Levy disturbing metamorphoses. They are not a pretext for the anecdotal, nor for the search for a thematic effect, but rather the tools of a personal and original imaginary and plastic vision.

And precisely, the hand, this protean organ, still mobilizes the attention of the artist. Games of constructions, folds of fingers as many introspections of the same nature as his self-portraits. Through this new language of the hands whose code we must decipher appear traits of character, moods, stories, humor. This small fragment of human body becomes autonomous, becomes monumental, in perspectives and vertiginous scales, it strikes us physically according to the various circulations of space, that the hands are open or – most often – closed, tightened, intertwined, lacerated with veins and gullies. They are no longer fingers, nor palms, but strange organisms, monsters or spaceships, where the nails are metamorphosed into portholes, screens, eyes that look at us. We enter a fantastic world sometimes threatening – the blacks of the prints accentuate the dramatization – or inviting us to go through these structures of which we are no longer sure of the nature: organic, vegetable or architectural? Games of hands, games of villains, maliciously whispers the saying…

Ra‛anan Levy’s latest works reveal a very strong intensification of the theme of water. Waters gushing out of taps, manholes, vivid pigments that spill into the center of the painting like a threat, a potential devastating torrent. The artist composes, by very tight framings of games of constructions, learned accumulations-saturations, strange comings and goings oozing of troubled substances that he deposits in perspectives of diagonals, views in plunge which provoke the dizziness – the fall? – of the one who looks. The spectator then literally “falls” on these unstable and wet grounds. Without human presence, the manholes and manhole covers, the sink drains, the taps, the tiles, the jars and the crumpling of fabrics are assimilated to living organisms, they become mouths or eyes, cavities, body orifices that observe us or absorb us, marked by a treatment of smooth flat surfaces punctuated by other more granular layers. The surface of these metal or enamel objects is treated like so many skins or flesh, lacerated with veins.

This mastery of materials – oil or charcoal, tempera or pastel, or even engraving – invites us to plunge, through its halos of dirt or wear, into the abyssal waters of the vestiges of our existences. Whether in very large canvases or in much smaller formats, Ra‛anan Levy draws us into a deep and poetic questioning, balanced between reality and dream, in a mysterious vertigo of pictorial matter.

Olivier Lorquin

Art Paris Art Fair 2018


Thursday April 5 from 11:30 am to 8 pm
Friday April 6 from 11:30 am to 9 pm
Saturday April 7 from 11:30 am to 8 pm
Sunday April 8 from 11:30 am to 7 pm

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Copyright Galerie Dina Vierny 2017