Foreword for Michael LEVY’s artwork

by André CHOURAQUI

The brilliance of the Bible is universal. In each of its pages, it describes the whole mankind, his lights and his shadows, his love and his hates, his virtues and his immoral habits, his despairs and his indomitable hope. I do not stop meditating on this glittering through discovering Michael Levy’s artwork, which, in each of its pages, reveals a man deep research, his author.

As a child he casts himself in the discovery of Paris (France). There he discovers the whole universe and, more specially, the human being for whom he is looking. He sometimes leaves the secondary school lessons to take refuge into the Louvre museum and into other museums where he becomes soaked with classic sculptures of antique Greece, Egypt and Asia.

As a 26 year-old sculptor he keeps on going studying medicine although he is already known. He pursues his studies while creating a service of therapy by the arts, in gerontology. The developments of his double career of sculptor and physician oblige him to choose between medicine and sculpture.

Michael Levy’s choice, the sculpture, is at the origin of an artwork among the most significant of this twentieth century. His works are situated in the inclusion of the humanity between two abysses, that of unspeakable love and that of the night with its horrors.

Michael is capable of handling fire and bronze as his ancestors did with calamus (quill, horny part of a feather) and parchment, to celebrate the Creation. His artwork implements light and shadow, movement and immobility, in order to settle through space his new creation stemming from his art and from his soul. ” There is only one single beauty, that one from the truth which shows by itself “, taught the French sculptor Rodin. Michael uses fire and bronze to give life to the reality living in his heart. His loving fingers obey at his glance, and carve with light and shade the shapes haunting him. Chaste and serene, they seem to burst out from a dream to illustrate a myth. The truth of his characters penetrates us by the bodies’ harmony. They appear to stem from light, the fruit of which they are.

In the exile of so many exiles, he could not feel himself in accordance with his century, nor he did with the fashions of the contemporary art. Too alive, concrete in his search for the truth, he turns back away from abstraction, dedicating his lasting life to reconstruct a new representation, enriched by all the discoveries of shapes and materials of this century. Beyond the relation which he maintains with fire and bronze, Michael’s hands are thinking and they obey the order formerly given by Aristotle (the classic Greek philosopher) : they follow the guidance of his glance. In the making they are anterior to any theology and any metaphysics. Anterior to the dream or the myth, they sing the weird wizardry of a pure creation.

Michael Levy draws his genius from the very depths of his roots, previous to the fashions and times. The charter of his alliance is carved into the bronze by his fingers, in magnificent Hebraic printings: the text of Shir ha Shirim, the Song of Songs. The man and the woman sing their union, being magnificent in their nudity. This union uses up when the two triptych’s shutters are pulled down on the central panel. Love’s mystery burns in the centre. This masterpiece celebrates the coming back of Michael towards his roots, which, in the central chest, burn and do not waste away.

” The Duality ” this polychromatic bronze with multiple symbols, as all the statues brought out of Michael Levy’s genius, Bard of the Reality, makes us become aware of the essential drama of the Man. This One, if he wants to survive, has to choose life contrary to death, peace contrary to war, love contrary to death. Then those broken-wing angels, these men with palsied arms and amputated hands will recover the plenitude of their lights and liveliness.

Mediator in between the Orient World where the roots of his art and his culture are stemming from, and Western World, Michael Levy’s talent blooms beyond any aestheticism in a creation beyond the symbolism and expressionism. His message is clearly passed on to us in his artwork. It has for vocation to contribute, as any true poem, to make light springing up from the darkness, the good from the evil, beauty from the ugliness.

 

ANDRE CHOURAQUI
JERUSALEM, October 1998