IMMA Collection: Les Levine, Resurrection

Les Levine, regarded as the founder of Media art, has made 13 new photographic works of children during the conflict in Northern Ireland. Entitled Resurrection, 1972-2016, this work has been recently donated to the IMMA Collection

Les Levine b.1935

Les Levine studied at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, London, before moving to Toronto in 1958, where he continued his studies at the New School of Art. Levine’s artistic practice incorporates various means including painting, sculpture, installation, performance work, mail art and artists’ books. During his prolific career Levine has produced major series of works about the manifold effects and functions of the media and information systems. Levine continues to live and work in New York

Resurrection (1972-2016) is a new work by the world renowned artist Les Levine. In 2010 Levine donated an 80-piece photographic work to the IMMA Collection entitled The Troubles: An Artist’s Document of Ulster (1979), in memory of his parents Muriel McMahon and Charles Levine. The work was produced from photographs he had taken while in Belfast and Derry in 1972.

Levine makes the point that The Troubles was the first major media work of art. In contrast to the media, however, Levine’s approach was to capture events from a human point of view rather than a political one. Careful to avoid bias, he wanted the photographs to tell their own story.

Revisiting the series in 2015 Levine was struck by the sheer number of images of children. This process resurrected the intense feelings that he had experienced while documenting Northern Ireland in 1973, and resulted in this revision of the original work. Selecting a number of these images of children, Levine has attributed a question to each photograph. Each image is also surrounded with contact sheets of all the photos he took in 1972, providing extra context for the viewer while they ponder the questions and arrive at their own answers.

The Troubles: an Artist’s Document of Ulster1972

During his prolific career Les Levine has produced major series of works about the manifold effects and functions of the media and information systems. ‘The Troubles: An Artist’s Document of Ulster’ is a suite of 80 cibachrome photographs, executed in 1972, and for which the artist coined the terms “media sculpture” and “media art”. Levine said of the series “The piece is extremely colourful. It deals with every aspect of the situation. It goes into Catholic homes, Protestant homes, churches, funerals, explosions…My approach was to take it from the human point of view, not the political. So in all cases, I tried to show the people involved and to evoke some state of mind that they were representing in the photo. I avoided taking sides or showing bias. I think the photos speak for themselves and tell their own extraordinary story.” ‘The Troubles: An Artist’s Document of Ulster’ was donated to IMMA by the artist, together with another series of the same name, in 2011.

For more information visit https://imma.ie/collection/the-troubles-an-artists-document-of-ulster-70/