Chris Levine's Modern Muse
'British Pop Art loves her as – she was recently featured in a one-of-a-kind exhibition and auction held by Sotheby’s in London, ‘Made in Britain’. Portraits of Kate Moss by acclaimed light artist Chris Levine and soft-power enforcer Banksy were featured alongside classics of an English era – yet another testimony in her favour as an undisputed source of inspiration across multiple fields.
Chris Levine, ‘Kate Moss – She’s Light’, dyptich (Image Courtesy of the Artist and TwelveArts)
For Chris Levine, in particular, the artistic endeavour of portraying Kate Moss was a different experience altogether. While most artists find power in movement, Chris seeks out the light in stillness. His subjects are usually larger than life – Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Grace Jones, and the Dalai Lama are at the top of the list and, as of 2013, Kate Moss joined his portfolio through the stunning rendition titled ‘She’s Light’.
“Every opportunity I got [to shoot a portrait], I tried to distil it back to just pure essence without any suggestion or iconography or anything,” he once told TIME Magazine, ahead of his solo show at the Fine Art Society on 17th May 2013.
Chris Levine, Kate Moss, ‘She’s Light(Laser 3)’, lenticular lightbox, 2013 (Courtesy of Chris Levine and TwelveArts)
Even more so, Chris decided to step away from what other artists had done before him – immortalising the fashion model Kate Moss, and instead ignored her and brought her back to simply Kate. He managed to strip away the glamour and weight of the commercial persona revered by millions, and showed the world a Kate that had never been seen before – a still being in a new light, with eyes closed and luscious red lips.
Kate Moss at the Fine Art Society, 2013 (Courtesy of Chris Levine/TwelveArts)
For Kate, a woman often haunted by the press and the judgment of millions of complete strangers, being shown as a pure and minimal figure with such a strong visual impact seemed like a breath of fresh air. It pointed to her humanity. It drew the attention away from the spotlights and the newspaper headlines. It highlighted her other, much quieter side – the stillness that comes with experience and exposure to antagonising factors.
‘She’s Light’ became a masterpiece of the 21st century, blending photography and art and light in a format never-before-attempted. Chris Levine first presented this series of portraits – including the diptych, the lenticular lightbox and multiple archival inkjet print versions at the Fine Art Society in 2013. Later on, the portrait was also unveiled as a ‘permanent resident’ of the Charlotte Tilbury store in Soho – Ms Tilbury being a long-time friend and collaborator of Kate Moss.
Chris Levine, Kate Moss, ‘She’s Light (Pure)’, 2013 (Courtesy of Chris Levine/TwelveArts)
According to Chris, works like ‘She’s Light’ have struck a chord with millions of viewers, as it takes them “into a more spiritual dimension and into a deeper realm”. He goes on to say that “it’s what we are, but people don’t very often connect with it,” during the same Times Magazine interview.
Most importantly, ‘She’s Light’ is yet another palpable moment of Kate’s fascinating presence in visual arts. To this day, she continues to inspire artists and photographers alike – including legendary photographer Don McCullin, who will soon publish his own take on a woman that has redefined beauty and fashion at the end of the 20th century.'
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