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In Provence, the sculpture garden of Arik Levy

By Marie Godfrain

Published today at 07:00

With their faceted, organic or sharp shapes, Arik Levy’s monumental totems stimulate parks, private gardens and public spaces around the world, from Boulogne-Billancourt to Taiwan. Oversized sculptures that the Israeli artist and designer, who has lived in France for more than thirty years, has never been able to admire at home… Until that day in the summer of 2019 when Arik Levy and his partner, the artist Zoé Ouvrier, visit a house in the Nice region, below the village of Saint-Paul-de-Vence. A rare pearl unearthed on the Internet among a thousand offers…

“I had long dreamed of living with my pieces. It was very frustrating to see them only during their conception and then in galleries or with collectors. »Arik Levy

This residence was built about thirty years ago, on the initiative of the prima ballerina Sylvie Guillem, in a huge hilly park of 12,000 square meters, planted with a hundred olive trees. The current owners are also pleased with the quality of the oil produced. “My dream is to one day be able to treat myself to a real olive oil bath”, said smiling Arik Levy. Nearly 600 trees of various species coexist on the site: pines, lemon trees, cypresses 25 meters high, two Japanese cherry trees, orange trees, jasmines… Not to mention the vegetable garden, which would almost make it possible to live in self-sufficiency.

The sculptures of Arik Levy are scattered in this park divided into several grounds. “I had long dreamed of living with my pieces. It was very frustrating to see them only during their conception and then in galleries or with collectors. It’s quite another thing to be able to rub shoulders with them over a longer period, to take the time to tame them…”

Arik Levy poses between pieces he is finalizing like “RockStone 90” (left) and “CraterMarble 80” in Carrara marble.  All photos were taken on May 3.
Arik Levy likes to find the ideal place for each sculpture, like here the “RockFormationTower 165”.
Placed along the basin, the “RockFormationTower 166” sculpture plays on the contrast between corroded Corten steel and lush vegetation.

More prosaically, this place also allows her to finish her works, outside or in the vast 150 square meter workshop with 8 meter high ceilings, which was formerly Sylvie Guillem’s dance studio. A bright space, lined with mirrors, with bay windows in the shape of arches overlooking the greenery and a ceiling equipped with a metal structure, also pierced with windows, which adjoins the U-shaped house.

With its greige plaster walls and freestone covered with ivy and jasmine, the building opens onto a terrace covered with bamboo. Inspired by Provence, it contrasts sharply with the contemporary interior with its stone floor, to refresh the atmosphere.

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