» Artists » Artists » Edward Levin » From the Conversation between Prof. WOLF MOSKOVICH of the Jerusalem Hebrew University and the Artist EDWARD LEVIN

Edward Levin

From the Conversation between Prof. WOLF MOSKOVICH of the Jerusalem Hebrew University and the Artist EDWARD LEVIN

WOLF MOSKOVICH :   Edward, the catalogue of your works comprising a considerable and meaningful part of the exhibition which will be exposed in the Jerusalem House of Artists, is entitled “Still Life”, or “Nature Morte” in French. This is your favorite genre in fine arts emphasizing vital principles of quiet and calm. As far as I know, your life is neither quite nor calm?

EDWARD LEVIN :  The world of things, objects is close to me not for the reason of their being aesthetically attractive, but first of all as a fact of their existence as nature, as a prototype of Genesis.

… The objects surrounding us are, of course, those of the material world, still they are spiritual entities as well. These are images humanized and re-interpreted by the artist. To touch the essence of the object – doesn’t that mean to touch the mysteries of eternity?

W.M. : Creative work as you apprehend it – what are its aims and purposes? Certainly, I don’t mean ideological or social order, obligations accepted by the artist himself as a guide to action, or, which is even simpler, – an approach to art as commerce. Is it the destination of art “to serve” the society, to obey the rhythm of the public taste, or, rather, the taste of those who mould it and pay for it?

Or the mission of art is still different?

E.L. :       I’ll start it from somewhat bare theoretical definition.

The components of artistic creation are the creative act itself, the image created, i.e. professional implementation, and the object (or its representation) depicted. The task is to create an indivisible visual entity, to obtain maximal harmony of the work conceived, and, as a result, to give birth to the artistic image. Being deeply convinced that life and creativity are an indivisible entity, I am also convinced that these notions present the phenomenon of morals, and that the supreme destination of art is neither to beautify (though aesthetics is an integrate component of art), nor to entertain, and even not to delight, to amaze, but to compassionate, to console. And always to support the human soul in its aspiration to ascend, not to abandon the heavenly heights when plunged in everyday earthly troubles and harasses. Each work of the artist is to become an actual artistic creation. There are neither national priorities here, nor allowances made for under-developed community, material needs, or inferior approach to culture. For what is of utmost importance in artistic creation is the artist’s personality and his apprehension of life.

W.M. : In the early 80-ies of the last century a well-known art critic Miriam Tal wrote in her essay introducing you to the Israeli society:

“He is a strong personality and a great artists deserving recognition, and not only here, in our country”.

Did her prophecy come true? Did the pastors holding power lend an ear to the opinion expressed by the only Israeli member of the International Association of art critics, author of studies about outstanding artists of the 20th century including Marc Chagall? Or did her words remain the voice in the desert?

E.L. :     In the desert, especially in the spiritual desert, the voice of one who is outside the chorus is not heard. It vanishes in bustle and everyday troubles.

The ruling (and militant) trends in art of our days, renouncing the basic professional school and striving for success by all means, did not leave me any other chance but one – to remain “in the shadow”, to go on working as before. The triumphal procession in the Naked King retinue is not for me. In any social community, now and then, the Lenin’s slogan “Art belongs to the people” is a sentence of death to creative work. This sword of Damocles is overhanging above the artist’s head, being at the same time tempting and promising.

My modest and intimate paintings aim at the principles similar to those inherent in music: harmony, composition, melody. And, of course, without such guiding references as “the present”, style, fashion…

W.M. :   But still – is it possible that you are entirely indifferent to fame, popularity, material success at last?

E.L. :    All this is of no small importance – for comfort, for material opportunities. But all this is less important than Art itself, which means Life. I always dreamed about establishment of an independent foundation to organize support for talented artists inspired by promotion of art which is individual, not public. Unfortunately, I have no such possibilities, and I don’t know if I’d ever have them. But even if I knew beforehand that I am predestined to be the only spectator of my paintings, I’d prefer to remain in private with my principles and purposes in fine arts. And there is no price that can impel me to give up independence and freedom.

I haven’t got the slightest hint of solitude, anguish, depression. Actually, in the history of art it was quite rare that the artist felt being in harmony with the society.

I am extremely thankful to my fate for having been honored the happiness of interrelation and friendship with people of lofty heartfelt and spiritual inspirations, which have elucidated and warmed my entire life, supported and strengthened by belief in correctness of the way chosen.

Human life is transient, and what is important is not the name of the artist, but significance and longevity of his creative work. If his paintings are destined to live a long life, and if they are needed to the human soul, isn’t that the way to Eternity?

Jerusalem, November 2011

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