Raffi Lavie is especially associated with a 1970s-80s style in Israel art that was coined ''the want of matter,'' referring to works with an Arte Povera-like aesthetic: an affinity with rough, cheap, low-quality materials such as plywood, readymade objects such as old furniture, and wood used as supports. Many of the artists working in this style were based in Tel Aviv, and the coarse, unadorned, and almost shabby feel of their work seemed to reflect the rundown city environment rather than the idealized green and fertile landscape of the countryside.
This piece exemplifies Lavie's work of the 1980s with the signature feature of this period - the use of posters and magazine reproductions with large expanses of color. The poster in the center is for an Open Day at Tel Aviv University and is flanked by a reproduction of a Classical sculpture and a photograph of an exotic, romantic sunset complete with palm trees and golden skies. The mundane world - students and lecturers meeting at the university to entice future students to come and learn - is in a pivotal position between more glamorous worlds: the heights of Western civilization and the utopian escape to sun-kissed beaches.
Publications: The Israel Museum, Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2005