Dor Zlekha Levy,
“The flexible identity of being Jewish and Arab at the same time is a possibility that I would like to explore—not only as a historical effect, but also as potential for the future… I remember my grandparents telling me about Iraq, [where they grew up,] and what they remember from their childhood. Dates that were so sweet. Rivers that were so wide. Sweet memories of childhood. It was clear that [this] Iraq of their memories doesn’t exist anymore, and I started to think that the Iraq they [picture] in their memories never existed.” -Dor Zlekha Levy
We are pleased to invite you to view a new video profile about the work and practice of artist Dor Zlekha Levy. In the video profile, Dor discusses the importance of personal stories and musical traditions in his practice, which spans audiovisual installation, video art, and performance.
Many of Dor’s works are made in collaboration with musicians, and incorporate sound as a way to reconstruct memories and forgotten traditions. Maqamat (2017, pictured above) is an audiovisual installation, made in collaboration with musician Aviad Zinemanas, and explores the cultural history of Maqam. Maqamat presents the work and stories of Jewish-Iraqi musicians Ezra Aharon (1903-1995) and Yusuf Zaarur (1902-1969), who immigrated to Israel and continued to play this style of music, maintaining their connection to Iraq.
In the installation, Dor incorporates recordings and archival materials from the estates musicians’ to bring their story into the present. A focal point of the project is an image of a wheel that maps the names of Arabic Maqam musical scales, and is written in both Arabic and in Hebrew. This image was made by musician Ezra Aharon as a tool to teach Maqam in Israel—a visual remnant of his attempt to translate the musical tradition that he came from.
Reflection (2022) is a site specific, audiovisual installation in the historical Pool of Arches in Ramle, Israel, which can only be visited by paddle boat. As viewers traverse the archeological site, they hear love songs in Arabic played synchronously with prayers in Hebrew that have the same melody. Videos, projected onto the architecture, present musicians playing these songs on ancient instruments. Filmed from unique angles, and integrated into the dark lit, spirited environment, viewers are brought closer to the history and craft of music making. Dor explains that through a bodily experience of the work, one does not only hear the sounds that are produced by the instruments, but also sees and feels its composition.
In the Studio with Dor Zlekha Levy, is part of a series of artist video profiles featuring artists based in Israel who are recipients of the Artis Grant for Exceptional Work in Uncertain Times. The video was created by Artis, edited and directed by Ian Sternthal, and produced by Sternthal Books. All rights reserved by Artis, 2023.
Dor Zlekha Levy is an artist who specializes in audiovisual installations, video art, and performances. Sound is a core element in his work. Ongoing collaborations with musicians are essential to his working process, from conception to installation. His creations echo forgotten traditions, and explore these traditions from a contemporary perspective. His works bring to life the voices that are excluded from cultural discourse in Israel in a way that allows them to not only be heard, but be listened to.
Dor’s solo exhibitions include the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel, The Arches Pool (CACR), Ramle, Israel, and Braverman Gallery, Tel Aviv, among others. He has participated in numerous group exhibitions, including at The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel, Petach Tikva Museum of Art, Israel, Kunsthalle Stavanger, Norway, and The Museum of Islamic Art in Jerusalem, Israel. His videos have been screened at Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria, Kadist Foundation in Paris, France and San Francisco, CA, and ICA London, United Kingdom. Dor participated in the Artport residency in Tel Aviv in 2020. He is a recipient of the 2017 Israeli Ministry of Culture Prize for a Young Artist, and was awarded the Zoom Prize for a Young Israeli Artist in 2016. His works are included in the collection of The Israel Museum in Jerusalem and in private collections. dorlevy.com