Israeli artist`s 3D oeuvre dipped in nostalgia, globetrotting

New Delhi: Borrowing heavily from his childhood memories and travels around the globe, Israeli artist David Gerstein`s first solo show in India has his trademark riot of colours on layered metal cutouts, creating a 3D artwork where subjects are always in motion.

Unlike his trademark imprint - landscape installations that dot the architectural space in Israel and Switzerland - Gerstein`s has picked up artworks inspired from nature, memories and bicycles in the exhibition titled `Poetic Mirror` at Visual Arts Gallery here.

The exhibition was inaugurated Tuesday and Israeli art gallery Bruno Art Group - that had first showcased his works at the India Art Fair in January – has brought it to India, with historian Alka Pande curating the show.

Coming from the background of figurative painting, the 69-year-old worked diligently for a decade in this art form till he realised he could never compete with masters like Van Gogh or Michelangelo.

Hence to charter his own path was important, and so was the idea to continue painting.

Taking the middle path, he took to wooden cut-out sculptures and painted their surface with colours.

This is how his 3D-artistic journey began.

"It was very important for me to get into space and create my own space. As my father used to cut leather, I borrowed the idea from him and started making cutouts from wood that would form the background, and then paint the surface," Gerstein said.

"I did it for 15 years, and it was in 1995 I discovered a new technology for cutting metal," he added.

Laser-cutting was introduced in Israel in 1995, and according to Gerstein this was perfect for his kind of work.

"I create one layer over another. Most of my works have three layers," he pointed out, adding he takes 2-3 weeks for one work.

Gerstein`s uses the technique of slicing one layer and painting it with automobile or industrial colours.

"These colours are brighter and suit my sensibilities. They help in creating freshness and happiness," he mentioned.

"These colourful works offer balanced images of urban scenes with natural scenery," he added.

Resembling the cult of pop art, his work isn`t a representation of Israel, but of the world around and his childhood memories.

"Since I am traveling around the world, especially Paris and New York, my works are inspired by the landscapes of these places. Though, we too have many highrise buildings in Israel, but this isn`t much represented through my works," he said.

"But, my childhood memories are," he said, pointing at the `Silly Cows Valley` artwork.

"As a child, when I first went to a farm, the first thing I saw was a cow. So many things that are etched into my mind are finding voice through art," he said.

What remains constant in his artworks is the ability of his subjects to be in movement all the time. It is one of the strongest element of his works where the subjects are always in kinetic motion, looking as if talking to each other or running or flying.

But, like Gerstein, they all are moving, travelling in their own space.

The exhibition ends May 15.

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