Last Friday we decided to take a walk, and to stroll around the very south part of the city where we used to live. Not to far from our old Florentine neighbourhood there is the Kiryat Hamelacha, a place that truly doesn’t look like any other place I know. It’s rough, the architecture style made us think about the Brutalism movement, very 60’s with an industrial touch. It is like a town inside of the city, with a very different vibe that the hipsterish Florentine. I get lost every time I go there, I try to orient myself with the street art that are covering the walls, but it is most of the time a complete fail. This area attracted plenty of emerging but also well established art galleries, probably for the large spaces, the cheaper rents, the harshness of the place, and the cool and underground factors despite the difficult reality of the neighbourhood. There is definitely a creative energy there, and the Kiryat Hamelacha is filled with artist studios.
Our first stop that day was the Rosenfeld Gallery probably one of the most interesting art space in Tel Aviv as despite its long and successful story as one of the prominent gallery in the city, they accomplished an amazing transformation by moving to the area and now primarily focusing on contemporary art and scouting new talents.
Before we entered the gallery two big beautiful intense blue eyes already caught our intention. Anna Lukashevsky‘s portraits are remarkable and striking. Her style is of course figurative, and even though her subject are very contemporary (and well connected- Macbook generation, the artist also studied graphic design so maybe that is why the computers are so present in her work) we can really feel the soviet tradition into her work (the artist was born and grew up in Lithuania before immigrating to Israel in the 90’s). She seems to exaggerate a bit some of the attributes of her models but without stepping into a caricature. The presence of her subjects is very strong, they really keep our intention and transmit/share something with the viewers through their poses, eyes or attitude. We sat for a while in the gallery, wondering about the title of the show “The Provincials“, for me in French that term always had something a bit pejorative, describing the people living in “province”, outside of the city implying that they do not have the same access than city folks to education, culture, or luxury, that they are less sophisticated or fashionable. The title is therefor not obvious to me yet, I thought that maybe it has something to do with the fact she is living and working in Haifa. Lukashevsky’s artworks are powerful, and absolutely not old fashion even though for some reason portraits are still perceived as an ancient practice. I also really liked the way art (mostly paintings, but also art books) is present in her scenes and portraits, especially in “Afternoon” where we can see two other paintings presented during the exhibition.
I really recommend you to discover Anna Lukashevsky’s work, but most importantly to experience them in the flesh.