by Sukanya GargSep 25, 2019
We are big fans of Israeli designer Arik Levy’s works, from crystal rock vases for Lasvit to his signature Rock Pieces as installations. It is little wonder that you see his creations as part of some of the most prestigious contemporary art collections - the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.
After taking part in his first group exhibition in Tel Aviv in 1988, Levy moved to Europe. Today, he lives and works in Paris.
Currently participating in the exhibition Blickachsen 12, Levy is showing four of his celebrated Rock Pieces in Frankfurt and Kronberg, while for Bad Homburg he has created a site-specific work, titled Giant Log. Blickachsen is an exhibition of contemporary sculpture and installations by leading and promising international artists. It takes place throughout the summer every two years in the historical parks of Bad Homburg vor der Höhe and other locations throughout the Rhine-Main region of Germany. With each new exhibition, the specific placing of modern works in this classical setting offers stunning new perspectives of both the works and the original Blickachsen (lines of vision), designed for the gardens by the celebrated 19th century landscape artist Peter Joseph Lenné. The rich and ever-changing interplay between landscape and art lies at the heart of this unique series of exhibitions.
Surrounded by trees on a meadow in Kurpark, Levy’s installation is a monolithic mirror that soars to a height of 13 metres. Though made of special high-grade and mirror-polished stainless steel, this Giant Log seems nonetheless to melt into the surrounding nature. With its ground-plan in the shape of an irregular triangle with cut off corners and alternating broad and narrow edges, this slightly leaning tower not only emulates the natural growth of the trees but also mirrors the natural surroundings, enveloping the visitor in ever new pictorial compositions and prompting a highly intensive perceptual experience.
For Blickachsen 12, Levy deliberately chose to exhibit his work not only in Bad Homburg and Kronberg, but also on the Campus Westend at Frankfurt University, where the former administrative building of the IG-Farben chemical concern stands as a reminder of the role this company played in the Second World War; for Levy, art is the best way to build bridges. He has placed his work RockStoneShift 235 by the central square of the campus, a meeting place at the heart of the university grounds. The larger-than-life sized stainless steel sculpture, with its multi-faceted and mirror-polished surface, looks as if it had been cut open horizontally at the bottom. This creates the shift referred to in the work’s title, whereby the two parts of the sculpture’s body are offset and poised on top of each other in a dynamic equilibrium.
The sculpture reflects its surroundings in countless detailed views, which condense into a polyphonic, constantly changing total image - stimulating the senses and the intellect in equal measures. In this respect, Levy’s work can also be understood as a symbol for the university, as a point of intersection between universal human experience and scientific research. In Blickachsen 12, his works in Bad Homburg and Frankfurt are complemented in Kronberg by three formally diverse examples of his abstract Rock Pieces.
Levy’s mirror-polished stainless steel sculptures are distinguished by their carefully equilibrated artistic form. Precise in their proportions and structure, they are inspired by mineral, often crystalline forms, yet are not to be understood as imitations of nature. Their appearance changes depending on the observer’s viewing position, the light conditions, and the time of the year.
On the terrace of the Friedrichshof Castle, now the Schlosshotel Kronberg, the two-section work RockStoneFusion Vertical 170 dynamically reaches out into space, and with its multiple reflections becomes a connecting link between the built and natural forms of its surroundings. In the castle’s rose garden, by contrast, nature itself seems to dissolve in the alternately flat and curved concave surfaces of his RockStoneImplosed 207. Beside it, the finely balanced equilibrium of the multi-part RockTower 131 intensifies the spatial experience of the observer.
Considering himself now more of a ’feeling‘ artist, Arik Levy continues to contribute substantially to the interior and exterior milieu, his work including public sculptures, as well as complete environments that can be adapted for multi-use. "Life is a system of signs and symbols," he says, "where nothing is quite as it seems."
Blickachsen 12 began on May 26 and is open until October 6, 2019.