Thursday, April 7, 2022

Rom Levy of Volery Gallery

Rom Levy is the founder and director of Volery Gallery, a gallery focusing on new contemporary art in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. 

Let’s get straight to it: Why do you love Art?
It is just something uncontrollable for me, like a visceral feeling that takes over my heart and invades me with all its might.
I grew up with no art education and did not have parents interested in Art, galleries or museums.
My first memory of Art appreciation was in Paris in 1997. Going to school, I walked daily through an area called “La Butte Aux Cailles” - this was where the first street pieces of Paris popped up, and it was the highlight of my day. Every day, I looked forward to this moment like a hunt to see if any new works had appeared.
That was a true revelation for me; it touched my heart and emotions, gave me answers to questions I had, and decided that Art would be all my life.
Growing up now and with 15 years of experience, I have no idea what else I would be doing if it was not for Art. It has fulfilled my life, and I will be forever grateful to Art for what it brought me.

Having established various successful platforms such as a pop-up gallery and online art journal (to name a few), what compelled you to open your brick-and-mortar Volery Gallery?
I have been living in UAE for the past seven years. I have always been interested in exploring new artists and seeing works that I would see in international art fairs and galleries. I always felt the need to create a place that could offer exposure to the contemporary artists that the galleries in Dubai were missing. I always thought that Dubai, being the megalopolis that it is, should have the same experiences that I could have in NYC, London or HK.
Covid-19 accelerated the process as I could no longer easily travel to see exhibitions. Therefore, I decided to launch Volery Gallery at that time in an effort to bring the Art I love to Dubai and develop what the art scene in the city had to offer.
The acceleration of the city’s growth and lack of variety in the art scene made me feel that it was the perfect place and location to create something new.
It has been quite exciting to discover that many people had the same feelings and were satisfied and happy to discover Volery Gallery.

What are some of the qualities you look for most in the artists that you showcase, aesthetically and professionally?
I am looking for feelings and emotions. The artwork has to trigger my instincts and touch me emotionally.
To me, the in-depth relationships with the artists, getting to know them, hearing their story, following their creative processes and seeing the results of their works is everything. I love the meaningful relations that go beyond those first studio visits when I can observe their work and reach a deep understanding of the artist and the artworks. Exhibiting their creations makes me
the mediator of their practice, which requires comprehensive knowledge and insight.

What do you find most rewarding about the curation process?
Curating is rewarding to me at a fundamental level because it’s the perfect mix of academic rigour and practical application.
It is an honour supporting artists in developing their visions and making them happen, from creative brainstorming sessions to the final exhibition. I will never get bored of getting a glimpse into the minds of artists who have the imagination and know-how to create new and visually stunning works.
Each exhibition is different, the process can remain the same, but the experience and emotions are always new, which is probably the most rewarding for me.

On the contrary, are there any challenges that you face?
There is a significant challenge due to being in the Middle East. My curation has to consider and respect the local values and customs. For example, things like nudity are not easy to show; however, the art scene in Dubai, being an international hub, is becoming more accepting, and the boundaries are gradually lifting. Until then Volery Gallery will continue to appreciate the freedom of creation and support artists in delivering their concepts in every way and form.

Are there any upcoming events or plans for Volery Gallery, beyond what you are doing today, that you are excited about?
Yes, I am working on expanding Volery Gallery with a second location in Saudi Arabia. More
details soon!

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