Renée Levi 2005
*1960 in Istanbul (Turkey)
Lives & works in Basel (Switzerland)
"Renée Levi is known for working in public space, but perhaps it would be more accurate to say that she works on public space, on its re-elaboration, whereas it is on the point of becoming undone from palpable space. Far from rejecting this, Levi takes it as her starting point, such that her pieces, although physically inscribed in public places (schools, working-class housing complexes, banks, hospitals, cantonal assemblies and so on), go beyond the framework of the in situ work of art. Her oeuvre betokens an age in which one can no longer postulate the identity of the space or the site. Real sites are no more because physical spaces are configured and established by virtual contexts, because the site is the canvas. Whatever a subject’s position on the surface of the earth, the question that can be justifiably asked is far less Who am I? than Where am I? On what control screen? In what fold of the globalized hypertext? It is a question that is immediately reversed to become Where am I then, I whose body is "here?" What is that "here" all about? Levi works at the heart of this seizure of the real body by the virtual text and the confusion that implies. Unlike the artists of on-site works of art, for whom space is a given situation, Levi sees it as a material that is secretly active, reworked by the growing cleavage between the inscription of bodies and the expectation of the gaze. It is an historical entity then that her art attacks in order to perform there the possibilities of a position, i.e., a subjectivated space, a space to get my bearings in. The paradox of her lucid and aggressive art is that this question has led her from practicing architecture to doing painting, i.e., painting-installation and painting-picture. This trajectory, which runs counter to the spirit of our day and age, raises at least one more question, What can painting, painting’s reflection about itself which forms Levi’s work as an artist, teach us about the now problematic articulation of space, the site and the subject?" (Catherine Perret, excerpt from‘Orientation’, in: Renée Levi. Kill me afterwards, catalogue, Verlag für moderne Kunst,Nürnberg, Museum Folkwang, Essen 2003).
Levi participated in the CCNOA organized group exhibition ’minimalpop’ and will present new works at CCNOA in 2005.