Arik Levy, Born 1963, Israel
Arik Levy’s creative approach defies conventional boundaries of art and design. He bridges the world of the handmade and the industrial, the one-of-a-kind and the mass produced and blurs boundaries between the aesthetic and the practical. His sculpture also seems to move between different worlds.
Made of faceted, reflective stainless steel, Levy’s “BigRock” is at once simple and complex, an element of nature and completely man-made. The work mirrors the world around it, so it both becomes part of the landscape and vanishes into it; on the one hand, the rock is solid, on the other it changes with the wind and the weather.
Levy began his series of “BigRock” sculptures in 1999, as he was experimenting in his studio. He started sanding a piece of foam and kept working on it until it took the form of a geometrically faceted block. “At the beginning I could not figure out when to stop or continue: it was more like a moment where I could not take anything away any more and could not add anything. It had its proportions and qualities, balance, beauty and absence. Quickly I understood that these pieces are about what is missing, what I have taken off, absence,” he says.
“I called it ‘BigRock’ as it was close to the world of minerals. But it was not even close to a real rock. The first sketch models were black and slowly I moved on to metal and stainless steel that brought in the reflections,” he explains. “The effects my ‘BigRock’ creates, the discovery of a new work from every angle … the influence of the seasons and the light during the day, make the sculpture transform every second
Levy is attracted to the prosaic nature of rocks, the fact that they can be pebbles and monuments, that they are the essence of nature and the basis of man-made structures. He is interested in the work of the artist Zhan Wang and the Chinese tradition of “Scholars’ Rocks” that he explores, as seen in his work across the vineyards at Donum. Levy has noted that Zhan’s work is the opposite of his own: “ What is interesting is that they both carry the same name. I hope one day we can exhibit together and juxtapose our respective works.” At Donum this is now possible.
Tel Aviv-born, Paris-based Levy is something of a polymath: his website describes him as "artist, technician, photographer, designer, video artist". As a young man growing up in Israel, he dedicated his time to art and graphic design, as well as to another favorite pursuit: surfing.
Levy received a degree in industrial design from the Art Center Europe in Geneva in 1991; he then spent time in Japan making products and objects for exhibitions. Back in Europe, he turned his attention to making set designs for dance and opera. Finally he set up his own firm, focusing on industrial design, light and furniture design, partly in order to support his career as an artist. Art for him represents “a way of life” and “a place with no brief…total freedom of expression, a virtual and physical place where I can use any tool, feeling, excuse or impulse to express what I feel.”