LEV, a Texan artist of Mexican origin, is a painter, photographer, and filmmaker who navigated the alternative scenes of Houston and Dallas before arriving in Paris in 2019. Born in the South East Houston neighborhood, known for some of the highest poverty and gun violence rates in Texas, LEV delved into filmmaking during his teenage years. At the age of 17, he won a Texas Emmy Award for Best Live Broadcast Director. Following film studies, he embarked on a documentary project about an artist who gained fame in the 90s in New York for his graffiti before transitioning to the fine arts in the 2000s. Over the course of a year, LEV filmed JM Rizzi, even residing in his car for several months to be closer to the artist, who lived in Dallas. This transformative year allowed LEV to learn significantly alongside Rizzi, shaping his own artistic practice. Simultaneously, LEV immersed himself in the alternative nightlife, becoming a regular at abandoned warehouses in the South West, organizing events that blended artistic gatherings with rave culture. In 2019, as he completed his documentary, LEV experienced a burglary where all his work equipment, films, and backups were stolen. Following this painful incident, he decided to leave everything behind and relocate to Paris. After the move, he rediscovered the underground scene, becoming a participant in the alternative nights of the capital. This journey led him to Carbone 17, a squat occupied since 2017 by the eponymous collective of artists.There, he established his studio and, within a few months, initiated several projects: creating a photo studio, a sewing workshop, and a program of workshops for young people in the priority neighborhood of Villette-Quatre Chemins in Aubervilliers. Continuing to be influenced by his mentors, LEV places a central focus on transmission in his projects. He strives to assist other artists in benefiting from the opportunities that have supported him and transforms his residence at Carbone 17 into a platform for collective growth. Despite his numerous projects, LEV doesn't lose sight of his initial love for cinema. He views every encounter and event in his life as raw material for a film in the making, narrating the underground scene from one side of the Atlantic to the other.


In his paintings, photographs, and street art, LEV's multifaceted work revolves around the practice of asemic writing—an art form devoid of intrinsic semantics. This deliberate removal of meaning paradoxically leaves more space for subjective significance. Lev's creative process involves stripping words of their traditional meaning, allowing pure form to emerge in all its vibrant expressive force. In the absence of semantic constraints, form opens up a vast realm for interpretation and imagination. This approach turns writing into visual poetry, where strokes, solid lines, texture, and rhythm suggest nuanced meaning without imposing it. The interplay of these elements creates a fusion, offering viewers a space to engage with the artwork on a personal level. LEV's graffiti style, an important element of his artistic expression, takes on a distinctive role. Instead of merely being a form of rebellion or retaliation against visual pollution, it becomes a deliberate reimagining of the essence and style of advertising. LEV's focus is to infuse his graffiti style with the qualities of advertising, presenting it as if it were an authentic advertisement, instruction, recruitment notice, or even a warning—akin to a cryptic communication from an alien civilization. This intentional blending of the familiar visual language of advertising with the raw, urban aesthetic of graffiti adds a layer of complexity to his work. It serves as a poignant critique of the pervasive nature of advertising, challenging its conventional role in society. By appropriating advertising aesthetics, LEV prompts viewers to reconsider the impact of commercial messaging on our visual landscape. His work raises questions about the manipulation of public spaces for corporate interests and challenges the conventional boundaries between commercial and artistic expression. In this way, LEV's art not only engages with asemic writing but also acts as a commentary on the commodification of community places and the subtle influence of advertising on our perceptions.
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