Silvia Levenson

Silvia Levenson unveils new work at contemporary sculpture biennial in Quebec

Argentinian native Silvia Levenson is an invited artist at this year’s Biennale Nationale de Sculpture Contemporaine, a festival celebrating contemporary sculpture that opened last month in the Trois-Rivieres district of Quebec. Having emigrated to Italy in 1981 amid the decline of military rule in her native country, Levenson is known for her overtly political work in kiln formed glass rather than the extravagant hot shop techniques that have transfixed some collectors of art from glass.
Aimed at promoting sculptural art in the fine art world and integrating it into popular Canadian culture, this year’s Biennale Nationale de Sculpture Contemporaine invited five artists from across the globe to create installations in keeping with the sound-alike dual theme of “Greffe/Griffe,” which means “Graft/Claw” in English. The artists were asked to explore the nature of grafting in our lives. The desire to leave a mark behind us, be it “technological, organic, botanic, corporal, doctrinal, ornamental [or] decorative,” is illustrated through Levenson’s half-lovely, half-creepy multimedia sculptures.

In the most literal sense, Levenson’s work for the installation consists of grafting animal heads onto human bodies. Using photographs of her family and a sculpture of a small girl (arguably representative of her own childhood) she leaves the grown man in tact – one whole human – while rendering the children with the heads of lambs and foxes. In a recent artistic statement released by Bullseye Gallery, who have represented her for many years, she describes her current body of work as “related to the mysterious world of childhood. Those years to me delineate an era where the edge between reality and dreams is very evanescent.” The jarring success of this piece is that while the children have been tampered with, it is the face of the grown man that carries an air of disconcerting and exactness. The half toddler, half lamb echoes an unhurried peace, and the boy foxes appear charming and mischievous.
Levenson’s work will be on view at the Biennale Nationale de Sculpture Contemporaine along with other invited artists until September 2 of this year. Admission is free.

-Katharine Morales

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