In his photo series 21, 22, 23, which was recently displayed at the 2016 Fresh Paint Fair, Gidon Levin’s images focus on military iconography. The subject is very personal for him; he became very sentimental and obsessive way about capturing his sensations and experiences in the military.
Levin was a foot soldier in the army and, until today, he regarded this time as his proudest moment. Now, he is finally able to move forward and be proud of his creation, feeling whole with his work. His target audience are people who haven’t been in military environments, to explore the sensations he is describing from his experiences.
At first it started out as something traumatic: this thought-provoking series of photos began as a testament to his memories and personal sensations he experienced during his army service. With time, the photography became therapeutic, he used the art as a form of psychotherapy.
Today, the series is finally about closure of his experiences in the military. Now he deals with the topic and images from an aesthetic approach, leaving behind that chapter, emphasizing the art form. The narrative of the photography has evolved into something very specific and pin pointed, and less about the overall experience. Gidon uses the photographs to focus on very exact points that make up his memories.
The main objective of putting together these photography exhibitions on the matter was to stop being preoccupied by his experiences and arrive to a point where it would finally be behind him. It’s a very difficult topic for him, but now he is 32, and has been released from duty for a long time. Still, it is only really in now that he has found himself stopping to talk about his experiences and traumas, thereby ‘putting away his experiences in the drawers of his mind.’
As a professional photographer, Levin is a rigid perfectionist. He knows exactly what he wants in each frame and loathes disorder. He wants the subject to be clear and immediate for the viewer.
In the photographs, the issues he’s evoking have been simplified to the point that there are almost no military elements, just landscapes.
For Gidon Levin, his successes and especially recognition have been deeply important for him, not just for the monetary prize, but for having the State acknowledge his creative work. The governmental recognition of his work with the Yuri Sterner prize denotes it as successful, which is particularly significant because he wasn’t born in Israel and is using his artwork to discuss topics related to the State and the military.