Turn your lights down low
Performance von Renée Levi
followed by GRANDE FIESTA INMORTAL; music and melancholia, booze and bowle, boys and boobs; jauss, bebbimegalife; all.night.long.
• 2. September 2017, 22 Uhr, Freymond-Guth Fine Arts
The radical painterly gesture, seriality and repetition are fundamental aspects in the work of Renée Levi (*1960 in Istanbul, lives in Basel) since the mid 1990s, when the artist first exhibited her murals and site-specific installations in solo exhibitions a.o. at the Swiss Institute New York (1997) or Kunsthalle Basel (1999).
Levi came to painting from architecture early on to venture along the trails she might blaze once she had dispensed with the traditional structure of the painting. Levi has always re-interpreted her earlier work for the context of her current practice. The question of gesture in painting in general, that is, the movement of the painter’s hand, still today deserves to be reconsidered in a wider perspective, especially beyond the sole field of what is called gestural painting in the strict confines of Abstract Expressionism’s historical moment.
Maybe now in 2017, after many years of being a professor for painting, Renée Levi is becoming a „real painter“, as she calls it, who has only very recently started using oil on canvas. Maybe its now- after having worked with spray paint and acrylic in both fluorescent and non-color shades, and after refusing canvases until the early 2000s, before accepting to work also on paper, cardboard or plastic.
That is to say, at least technically a „real painter“, as she still likes to consider herself most of all a drawer.
However, the artist anyway had always had her issues with limiting perceptions. «I like it when language is open, when the possibilities are very open—visuality and visual messages for me are more important», Levi recently mentioned in an interview.
Renée Levi’s physically demanding mode of painting, e.g. her iconic infinite lines applied directly onto walls, thus not only emphasize on space but also the body surrounded by it. Intuition and improvisation as well as control and technique shape her uncompromising dedication to the surfaces consigned to her and discuss the basics of (her) painting.