Between 7 December 2019 and 8 March 2020, the Fondation Maeght presents “L’épreuve du miroir” (“The Mirror Test”), an exhibition devoted to the pictorial world of Ra’anan Levy, in which curator Hervé Lancelin, a close friend of the artist and familiar with his work, assembles around thirty of Levy’s paintings and a number of his prints, which will be placed alongside the Fondation Maeght’s own collections.
The French-Israeli artist consistently depicts idiosyncratically chosen fragments of everyday reality, thereby asserting his personal style while exploring his favourite themes: the configuration of space, the passage of time, the absence of people, the presence of objects, inhabited and uninhabited spaces, the play of visual perception and imagination transforming everyday life into a strange new reality.
The principle that can be seen in Ra’anan Levy’s work, acting as its guiding thread, is AMBIGUITY. On one hand, the works that represent plenitude to the point of BULIMIA, such as work tables and studios full of useful or useless objects, or the paintings depicting libraries flooded with piles of books discarded in all directions. On the other, subjects that are practically ANOREXIC in their sparseness, such as empty rooms and apartments, or fragments of mirrors. The element that links such contrasting subjects is simple: if we look at the pots of paint on the work tables, we see that they are always open, inviting us to enter, like Alice entering wonderland, a labyrinth of empty rooms and mirrors. There is always an opening inviting the viewer to enter.
Ra’anan Levy was born in 1954 in Jerusalem. He now lives and works in Paris and Florence. Studying visual art in Italy at the Academia di Belle Arti in Rome and Florence and the Santa Reparata Graphic Art Center from 1975 to 1979, and history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (in the history department and the history of Muslim countries department) from 1980 to 1983, Ra’anan Levy took up a three-year residency at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam from 1983 to 1986 thanks to a postgraduate grant from the Dutch government. In 1987, he settled in Paris, having received a grant from the Fondation de France. Ra’anan Levy’s work has been exhibited in Paris, London, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, St Petersburg, Zürich and New York. His major solo exhibitions include: “Ra’anan Levy: Works on Paper” (exhib. cat.) in 1997 at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, “Ra’anan Levy, la chambre double” (exhib. cat.) at the Fondation Dina Vierny-Musée Maillol in Paris in 2006, an exhibition presented at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in 2007 under the title “Ra’anan Levy: The Poetics of Space” (exhib. cat.), and “Ra’anan Levy, Passages du temps” (exhib. cat.) at the Fondation Dina Vierny-Musée Maillol in Paris in 2012.
Ra’anan Levy received the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres award in 2013. His work can be found in several major international collections, both public and private: Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris; Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Fondation Maeght, Saint-Paul-de-Vence.
Guest curator: Hervé Lancelin, President of the Pinacothèque in Luxembourg.
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