Fabienne Lévy was born to be in the arts. With two parents who encouraged her curiosity and a mother who particularly nurtured her interests, she grew up with the visual delights of art galleries, museums and art fairs around the world. Art is indeed a family affair: his sister is the art dealer Dominique Lévy from the new LGDR consortium.
Fabienne Lévy has opened her own gallery in her home town of Lausanne in 2019. Each exhibition is entirely invested by the work of an artist, right up to the inaugural show, “Elevation,which featured Andrea Galvani’s neon sculptures of mathematical equations, arranged to illuminate the space.
Lévy is also involved in Switzerland’s broader cultural environment, working to build a creative economy that values artists at all stages of their careers. In the summer of 2020, the gallery launched “Space invasion», inviting a group of students from local art schools to show their work in a professional setting, introducing them to the business and logistical aspects of the art world, as well as giving them a platform to start their career.
As in her gallery program, Lévy’s personal collection reflects a contemporary landscape: the artists she shows and those she collects are equally interested in making sense of the world around them.
A veteran of the art world, she studied art history at New York University, worked at Christie’s and eventually branched out as an art consultant, helping to hone her acumen. Talent. We caught up with her about her art collection.
What was your last purchase?
A group of five photographs by Andrés Asturias, a Guatemalan artist. The works are extremely powerful as they recall the illness of friends during the pandemic. Each flower was taken with a friend in mind and staged in connection with this friend like a memory book – very beautiful and at the same time very meaningful. I am always attracted by the duality in a work.
What works or artists do you hope to add to your collection this year?
I look at different artists, but I can’t say in advance who they are because it often depends on the work itself. Buying contemporary art is still something very spontaneous and rarely planned, and even if I go to a fair to see a specific work, I often end up buying something else.
What is the most expensive work of art you own?
I believe it’s Liu Ye White as snow (2006). I bought it from Sperone Westwater in 2006, and at the time it was a lot of money for me, but at today’s price I couldn’t buy it.
Where do you most often buy art?
I like to buy at smaller art fairs and galleries. Now that I have a gallery myself, I understand even better the importance of the work done behind the scenes. And I really think that it is through personal exhibitions that we can best immerse ourselves in the works of the artist.
I also started looking at artists via Instagram but never contacted them to buy directly. Doing a show yes, but not collecting.
What work have you hung above your couch? And in your bathroom?
Above the sofa I have a work by Rebecca Ackroyd that highlights the fragility and sensuality of a woman’s body. I love the idea of having this piece in the living room, standing out as a poetic statement about femininity.
In the bathroom, two works: one by Beatriz Milhazes with an explosion of colors that makes me feel like spring all year round; and a pink metallic sculpture by Anselm Reyle. But since my bathroom is in my bedroom, I can also enjoy White as snowas well as works by Chen Ke, Keith Haring and Natalia Gonzalez Martin.
What is the least practical job you have? Why?
Three lamps by Tobias Rehberger. Every time I have to change the bulb, I have to call someone, uninstall the job, carefully open it and change it. It takes more than two hours to do it.
In the past, a work by Tatiana Trouvé was accompanied by a three-meter pole! Since it couldn’t stand the way it was, I had to remove the concrete pad from the post and place it in my garden. To this day, he lives in total symbiosis with grass and flowers.
What work would you have liked to buy when you had the opportunity?
A painting by Urs Fischer of the “Problem Paintingsseries. I really regret not buying it when I had the chance. Unfortunately, there will probably be more of these missed opportunities in the future.
If you could steal one piece of art without getting caught, what would it be?
Most likely A view of L’Estaque by Paul Cézanne, or by Jeff Koons tulips… but I’m afraid it’s not the most discreet work to steal!
What does style mean to you? How do you define the relationship between art and style, in your opinion?
As collections evolve over time, so will style. Style is the person you want to share with the public and society, while art reflects a deeper side of each of us.
They are related because both are based on visual aesthetics, and both reflect who you are and how a person is constantly changing. They are friends holding hands.
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