Arik Levy & Zoe Ouvrier
For a very long time I have been interested in Ethnographic art and objects from ancient times in general. As an artist, more particularly as a sculptor, tribal artifacts, ceremonial tools and objects, different kind of minerals, symbols, masks etc.. are all extremely fascinating for me. All their supposed power and energy was transmitted to people thanks to the magic of imagination and symbols, becoming meaningful and necessary icons of every day’s life. Beliefs, shamanism, hidden powers and inspirations were all source of spiritual, psychological and imaginative magnetism.
I wanted to see these iconic objects reflecting over my faceted sculptures and see them flow from one plain to the other: reflection was considered as magic in the ancient times, its discovery as a scientific phenomenon being relatively recent historically. I believe that my sculptures are totems of the contemporary life, shifters of gravity in a space and a point of possible exaltation of one’s thoughts.
The selection I made from my body of work is based on the dialogue that is developed between my thoughts, my work and the ethnographic art. These works carry evocative, often composed names such as SocialSkin, RockStone, Formation, FixingNature, RockGrowth, Ghost, LogShift etc., that are somehow connected to the context of the collection.
My contribution to the exhibition is separated in 2 major parts: the first is the juxtaposition of different typologies of my sculptures that sit side by side to the carefully selected pieces from a collection of a passionate person that has dedicated a big part of his life being in contact with these cultural groups and participated in their way of life.
The second part of my work for this exhibition is a metamorphosis in time and meanings. First, I scanned five pieces: originally created either for physical or spiritual protection, or for a specific ceremony or to simply transmit energy and power, these pieces were mostly made of organic materials and were, therefore, not created to last. They were made by artists or specialized craftsmen serving the labor of the gods, spirits or war, or commissioned by shamans to create bridges to spiritualism and ceremonial gates.
In a second time, I have used state of the art 3D professional scanners to turn each one of these objects into something intangible and ephemeral.
I have then taken these 3D files and worked on them, sculpting and elaborating them by applying my own ideas and language: I have interfered with their purpose, their structure, their morphology and appearance as well as their inner energy and physical weight or simply changed their appearance and what they communicate.
The 3D prints resulting from these modified files have then been cast in bronze, giving birth to a series of new pieces each with its own meaning, appearance, code and energy.
Objects that were traditionally not meant to stand the test of time, that got usually eaten by termites or burned, will now be able to last in their new “bronze” physicality, originating new social codes and a new understanding of history.
In Africa, depending on the region, there was hardly any practice of bronze and especially in these shapes… material is a vehicle that determines culture and location, knowledge and knowhow, ange and time.
I have always felt close to what emanates from African art. My parents are themselves lovers of Africa. From his travels, my father used to bring me its scents and colors...
This imprint has remained with something even deeper in me, unconscious, as if this sensitive language belonged to me.
African primitive art depends on the African man who creates it within his culture and his traditions... I cannot compare myself, but I can say that, in some ways, my work also depends on what I am with my own feelings and my own experience: thus, I execute it without intellectualizing it too much and it springs up like an affect waiting to be touched… maybe that is my recognition.
I like this deep, sometimes mystical relationship that matter can give me... The strength of the raw is what speaks to me the most.
From a very young age, everything that comes from the soil, from the organic matter, challenges me and offers me a world to explore. In the seeds, the branches, the leaves, I see faces and bodies, all sorts of small living beings that could well and truly come from a fantasy world! Basically, I am still the little girl who likes to venture into her imaginary sphere...
But that's not all… with my gouges, I get a glimpse of the microscopic world of our cells: the shapes that I shear in the first layer of my wood, give an effervescent trajectory that makes the surface come alive.
It is then that, by becoming aware, my intuitive message gets exposed by the allegory of the living, that of our entrails, of what we are, of what we obtain. It can be sensual or otherwise, but it is always linked to its origin. This allows me to never forget that human beings have the same cells as plants or animals: our source is common, we come from the same matrix and all that creates a harmony.