Israeli artist David Gerstein recently exhibited vibrant sculptural installations in metal in his first solo show in India. Titled Poetic Mirror, the show was brought to Delhi by Bruno Art Group and was curated by Dr Alka Pande.
Born in Jerusalem in 1944, Gerstein studied in Jerusalem, Paris, New York and London and started exhibiting his work in 1971. He uses a large spectrum of media such as wall sculptures, paper cuts, prints and photographs and other small objects. He is most famous for his large, Fauve-like outdoor installations, which are very much part of the Israeli landscapes. Said the artist who is considered the pioneer of 3D metal art, “This is the first time I visited India, but I have been reading about it and hearing stories or seeing films that it seems I know what India is like. My passion for colours always makes people inquire whether India helped determine my love for strong fresh colours which is so typical to the Indian culture. After all, the Mediterranean culture and heritage which we share with India brings us to the same strong sun and shadows.”
Gerstein’s works are simple, straightforward and colourful. Whereas the artists of his generation adopted minimalism and conceptualism at the heart of their creation, Gerstein always refused to join the mainstream and continued to create simple and vivid scenes of everyday life.
“My art has always traversed its own path, though often it’s been called ‘pop art’. I was a narrative artist from the very beginning and wanted to get people’s attention by representing the values I share with the common art lover. I want to share beauty and happiness and tell people that we, as people have great values and are not just instigators of violence and disasters. After years of creating narrative and figurative images, I wanted to extend the borders of painting and give a new sculptural dimension to the illusionist look of flat paintings. By slicing the view to multi layers, I achieved volume that was earlier paintings lacked.”
Among the works that were on display during the show was the swirling 5th Avenue, a busy street scene inspired by the artist’s stay in New York. Happy Hours depicts the sensation of freedom overwhelming two bikers surrounded by a cloud of butterflies. The powerful Endless walk represented a multicoloured crowd of people walking along lines that form the infinity symbol. The Burning Lips passes on the feeling of softness of the lips or the sensation of its great sensitivity. Elegance is a comment about femininity and Peloton Wave is all about movement and the way the human figure is integrated with the mechanism of the bicycle. “Each image has its own story and solution.”
David Gerstein has exhibited his work in Europe (Belgium, England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland), Canada, the United States, Brazil, Korea and Israel. In India, his works were shown at the India Art Fair by the Bruno Art Group, which has galleries in Tel Aviv, Haifa (Israel), Singapore and the Caicos Islands.
(Poonam Goel is a freelance journalist who contributes articles on visual arts for unboxedwriters.com)