(Jérusalem, 1954 – Paris, 2022)
After being released from his military obligations following the 1973 conflict, Ra’anan Levy left his family to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome. He then moved to Florence to study at the Tovarelli brothers’ studio. Throughout his career, he lives and works between Paris and Florence.
Very early on, Ra’anan Levy displayed an obsession with capturing the traces left by man on everyday objects, nudes, self-portraits, hands, landscapes, still lifes, washbasins, empty spaces, manholes, all of which serve as a pretext to question the transience of time or the mark of the human being. These themes, which he treats with pastels, pencils, paintings and engravings, function like communicating vessels and concentric circles, which increase the degree of symbolic possession of a reality that often proves elusive.
Discovered by the French public at the time of his first retrospective in France at the Musée Maillol at the end of 2006, his work met with great enthusiasm. With his painting in pure colours and bright pigments, somewhere between Balthus, Freud and Hopper, Ra’anan Levy presents a certain continuity with the great tradition of figurative painters, far from the formalist and conceptual debates of modernism.
Rather than dwelling on the reasons for the choice and the possible interpretations of the motif chosen by the artist – which he himself seems to see as self-evident – we should concentrate more on the expression he gives it, on the effect produced by the work, on the artist’s way of treating the material. For Ra’anan Levy is a poet of matter and the passage of time, the figure disappears in his work in favour of the carnation of matter.
His deserted interiors reveal his solitude and his view of the world around him. Alone with himself, he tries to make each of his paintings a living space. For creative space and living space are very closely linked in the artist’s work. He lives through his work, in his work, for his work, which he constantly nourishes with his very subjective vision of the world around him. He observes places and people with extreme acuity. The result is a very personal and expressive work, where each engraving, each paper, each canvas is the result of an obsessive adventure marked by such a degree of commitment and passion that Ra’anan Levy ends up embodying himself in his painting.
Détail – Elément essentiel, 2016
Huile sur toile
198 x 175 cm