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Interview with gallery owner Antoine Levi

Antoine Levi is co-founder of Antoine Levi gallery,  committee member of Paris Internationale, vice-president of Paris' galleries association Metropolitan Art Paris, and member of the Comité Professionnel des Galeries d'Art. The gallery is participating this year in The Armory Show.

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Can you tell us about the gallery?

It’s true that the gallery carries my name, but I must emphasize that the project belongs to and is equally managed by my partner Nerina Ciaccia. I think that the origins of our project are the fruits of an intuition, of an instinct, each inspired by previous experiences; Nerina was an independent curator and was working in Turin on the financing and curating of contemporary public art projects. As for me, my experience is more hybrid. I am a former medievalist (historian/specialist of the Middle Ages). I worked as an assistant curator at the IVAM of Valencia, then at the gallery Juana de Aizpuru in Madrid, before joining the Franco Noero Gallery of Turin as its director for six years.

We set up in Paris at the end of 2012 to open the gallery in January 2013 with an extraordinary project from the conceptual Norwegian artist Olve Sande who in a way left a mark on our gallery and who shaped our direction and future projects for the years to come.

A natural affinity for Italy characterizes us. It’s a vision that we cultivate almost unconsciously, but one that has defined our brand, pervading our work methodologies.

The interdisciplinary dialogues uniting the longstanding tradition of the history of art and the young generation of artists present in nearly all of our exhibitions, all leave at times gems along our path. I think especially of a solo exhibition of Luigi Ghirri in 2016, a hypnotizing project, but above all I think of the rediscovery of the work of the Italian photographer, Lisetta Carmi, a newer development that we have been discussing for about one year.

Which artists from the gallery have you chosen to exhibit?

We will present the work of Zoe Williams, a young British artist that we have already exhibited at NADA Miami in 2017 and who has a very successful story. Williams will exhibit an installation covering the ground of our stand with rabbit furs in exuberant tints as well a ceramic sculpture. The laws of attraction, of aversion and of exaggeration made overt alongside an erotic enamel bring forward a much broader discussion of the position of a feminine artist as well as the many contradictions of the superficial universe and traditional artistic knowledge.

Alongside her work, we will present a very young American painter Louis Fratino. It will be his first time participating in a fair in the United States. His work is characterized by a perpetual reasoning with his passions and the various transgressions of the history of painting, from Cubism to the PaJaMa Group for example; the illustrations that he creates are unique because he depicts his everyday life, his friendships, his family, and his loves as a melancholic nostalgia of the moment. As opposed to painting in a rigid sense, a prominent image from his private life is at the center of his work, where his subjects pose as modernist models.

Which are the works exhibited?

We are alternating Fratino’s works on canvas and his works on paper; some of the works more modeled or polished will contrast with the illustrative drawings. The series will create a storyboard of the everyday life of the artist.

The ceramic sculpture made by Zoe Williams is a feminine hand with closed fingers, whose wishful qualities explore and combine the notions of collective consumption, of artistry, of ritual but also of the shift in the use of certain objects throughout history.

Why have you chosen to take part in the Armory Show and what are your expectations in NYC and also more broadly in the USA?

This fair is of particular interest to us because it is an important passageway for curators and for museum directors from the continent. It is a unique occasion for us to present our work to a new public audience and to intersect with the fascinating local artistic scene. We are also beginning to maintain strong friendships with private American collectors and we are coming to meet with them too. All in all, the Armory Show represents a significant artistic entryway on the continent.

 

In partnership with the CPGA - Comité Professionnel des Galeries d'Art.

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