The exhibition will include two new bronze sculptures cast from found objects: one, False God, a cast of the skeleton of conjoined twin calves, the other, Dada , a cast of a rocking horse. Also on view will be postcard collages from 2000.
Since the late 1970s, Levine has produced work that challenges ideas of originality and authorship, employing strategies of repetition, duplication, seriality and literalization that enable her to recontextualize and transform objects and images from our cultural landscape. She has said: “I consider myself a still-life artist, with the bookplate as my subject. I want to make pictures that maintain their reference to the bookplates. And I want my pictures to have a material presence that is as interesting as, but quite different from, the originals.”
With her reprises of found artifacts whose relationship to nature is mediated by science (the abnormal skeleton), arts and crafts (the hobbyhorse), or mass-produced ideas of the picturesque (the postcards), Levine develops an engagement with the still-life genre that owes as much to modernist sculpture and collage as to ethnography and archeology. In his essay on Flaubert’s The Temptation of Saint Anthony , Michel Foucault wrote about the modern imaginary as “a phenomenon of the library.”
The imaginary now resides between the book and the lamp. The fantastic is no longer a property of the heart, nor is it found among the incongruities of nature; it evolves from the accuracy of knowledge [?]; and a true image is now a product of learning: it derives from words spoken in the past, exact recensions , the amassing of minute facts, monuments reduced to infinitesimal fragments, and the reproductions of reproductions.
Similarly, Levine’s work puts forward a notion of the image as a product of knowledge, a palimpsest of the various ways in which nature has been memorialized in the vast archive of earlier art and cultural discourse.