Avner Levinson in Conversation with Ofer Lellouche:

Ofer Lellouche: What was the trigger that made you pick up art?

When I was 13, my father passed away. As part of the attempt to cope with the loss, my mother suggested that I join a sculpting class. I worked with a group of adults in a live model class. I knew nothing about artists and about art history, but I loved working with the material, and I built a small studio in the basement of our house. I would spend the hours after school in the studio making mostly expressive heads of imaginary people. The combination of the little familiarity I had with art and my young age created something very primal and direct. I guess it suited my situation very well. What interested me was the possibility of expressing human emotion. It was not a specific emotion. Looking back, I think that the power I found in sculpture was the ability to convey a deep human experience that I couldn’t put into words.

OL: How do you start a sculpture, what is your starting point? What is the inspiration? How much do you dialogue with other artists while working?

I am very connected to the history of art on an everyday level. When sketching or making small sculptures, studies of sorts, I regularly work from observation. But when I work in the studio on new large-scale sculptures, my starting point is not a particular thought or an image or a model. I also do not have another artist’s painting or sculpture in mind. I start from an experience of emotion, from a movement that interests me. Sometimes it is something as simple as how a head sits on the neck, other times it is an abstract idea.

OL: Can you talk a little about your work process?

When I start a sculpture, I work very fast. Within two hours, there’s already a sculpture, even two-meter high sculptures. But in the next stage, the initial idea I had in mind begins to blur and fade away, and I work with what emerges in front of me in the material.This process usually takes several months. It is a process of constantly changing all the parts of the sculpture. I work on each part separately, but every individual part affects other parts, and also requires them to change. I am constantly trying to maintain tension and create tension between the detail and the whole and between the front and back, while also trying to close the sculpture so that from every angle it looks good but also surprising and different. It is almost a dance of sorts around the sculpture.

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