Israeli Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

A painter, educator, art critic, music connoisseur, and curator, Raffi Lavie was the most central, charismatic figure in the art scene in Israel for the past four decades until his death in 2007. Influenced by Paul Klee, Jean Dubuffet, and Robert Rauschenberg, as well as by local artists such as Aviva Uri and Arie Aroch, he introduced the avant-garde of his time to Israel by adapting its components into a local discourse. Lavie was the founder of the “10+” group which started its activities in 1965 in a series of theme exhibitions that brought home current international trends. He was also the key figure in the style that formed around him in the 1970s, which would become known as the “Want of Matter” due to its adherence to inexpensive, ascetic materials such as plywood, and the use of collage; a style associated with the city of Tel Aviv, conveying urban, secular, local values untainted by the narratives of any given ideology. In some respects, Lavie succeeded in distilling an Israeli aesthetic; by giving it form, he reaffirmed the ethos of the place. His genius stems from the fact that his art reflects our values, ideals, and aspirations that have gone awry. An exhibition of Raffi Lavie’s work at the present Biennale attests to the yearnings invoked by his art, forcing us to question what is it that we wish to remember, and why this therapeutic memory has the taste of urgency. Observing Lavie’s works, two qualities stand out: the child-like painting, and the obsessive erasure of images via scribbling, carving, and generous color strokes. These practices are connected to his perception of the periphery’s double role as an actual place and as a spiritual dimension. The acts of erasing and starting anew are closely related to Lavie’s cultural heritage as an Israeli and a Jew. Working from within a scopophobic tradition, far-removed from any center, he created an idiosyncratic language, specific to the place, its needs, and desires. Team: Doreet LeVitte Harten, Diana Dallal, Ilan Wizgan, Mati Broudo, Arad Turgeman, Yael Braun, Carmit Blumensohn, Michal Sahar and Koby Levy, Daria Kassovsky Press preview: June 4 – 6 (invitation only) Inauguration of the Israeli Pavilion: Friday, June 5, 1.00 p.m. For more information please contact Ilan Wizgan Tel: +972 52 329 3037; e-mail: ilanwiz@netvision.net.il

Pavilion of Israel

kaleidoscope
KHSH
bonniers
Frieze_D.E.
Schirn Kunsthalle
mousse
piktogram
mak
NKD
New Documents/ Phillip
Kunsthalle Wien