|Ra’anan Levy at Jerusalem Print Workshop|
Ra'anan Levy, who passed away one year ago in Paris, was a greatly appreciated artist. He has presented in exhibitions in museums and galleries in Israel and abroad, his artwork has been acquired by important collections around the world, and is the recipient of multiple prestigious prizes. In 2007, his works were exhibited in a broad retrospective exhibition in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. His last retrospective exhibition was in the Fondation Maeght museum in Saint Paul de Vence. He divided his work and life between Jerusalem and Paris, and later between Paris and Florence.
Levy was born in 1954 in Jerusalem. From a very young age his artistic talent was noticeable. His first solo exhibitions were in the late 1970s in the Arta and Debel galleries in Jerusalem. After his military service, he proceeded to study Fine Art in Rome and Florence for three years. The majority of his studies took place in the Santa Reparata Graphic Art Center, where he learned and practiced different etching techniques. While studying, he discovered his great passion for etching. He returned to Jerusalem with a printing press he bought in Bologna.
In his first etchings he shifted between different topics and experimented with technique, yet the high quality and control of the medium was clear. Arik Kilemnik, head of the Jerusalem Print Workshop, invited Ra’anan to work in the workshop. His etchings, which over time captured mainly portraits, have been exhibited in several exhibitions.
In his own words, he felt drawn to etching as a result of the dominant material aspects of the technique; the continual physical effort; the opportunity to deepen the line of a drawing not on a paper or canvas, but rather into the printing plate; the different shades and qualities of the Black color; and from the surprise that awaits in every stage of work, mostly in the initial stages. These elements are present in his work.
Throughout his rich artistic career, Levy returned time and time again to etching (mostly in the Jerusalem Print Workshop and Gottesman Center for Printmaking, Kibbutz Cabri), similarly to the two artists he admired, Rembrandt and Goya, who were both genius printmakers. Up until he began working in the print workshop Arte in Paris, he consistently focused on portraits self-portraits. From 2010, the themes of all of his work on paper and canvas - empty spaces with complicated perspectives, doors, steps, sinks, drains, unmade beds, nudity, hands, the studio and its materials, and even his donkey, Vicky – appear in dozens of his etchings which he created over ten years of work in the Arte workshop. In his work, Levy exclaims that like Rembrandt and Goya, he too captured all that has been painted in oil or drawn in pastel in etching.
Text: Yoram Verte
Translation: Merav Hamburger
Curator: Arik Kilemnik
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