Chris Levine’s work considers light not just as a core aspect of art, but of human experience more widely. A spiritual, meditative and philosophical edge permeates his work and he is perhaps best known for producing what is already being described as one of the most iconic images of the twenty-first century, Lightness of Being. With light and stillness at its core, the sensational portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II presents an utterly fresh depiction of the most famous woman in the world. The National Portrait Gallery stated it was the most evocative image of a royal by any artist.
The piece captures The Queen in a meditative state. During Levine’s creative process, he had her majesty pose for several shots and then spend 15 seconds with her eyes closed – resting. The Lightness of Being image was captured during these few tranquil moments. Levine is said to focus on his subjects breathing, observing their energy intently during his sittings. This process allowed him to capture incredible moments of purity and calm. The unusually informal image has since gone on to become one of the most iconic images of a member of the monarchy.
Levine’s practice is differentiated by the cross-fertilization of many creative fields including music, performance, installation, fashion and design in a multitude of projects. His exhibition Hypervisual 1.2completed a tour of 12 countries with the British Arts Council. In 2012 his work featured in the major exhibition, Queen and Imageat London’s National Portrait Gallery. He has even presented artwork in London’s Science Museum and staged light performances and exhibitions internationally too. Including: Radio City in New York commissioned by MoMA, The Eden Project, The Royal Opera House, MATE museum in Lima, London’s Fine Art Society and the headline installation at MOFO festival for Tasmania’s MONA museum.