A fabulous artist”
Can't take my eyes away”
When you look at art, your hand is supposed to head towards your chin, and stroking is meant to follow. And when you write about it, you should probably use words like ‘construct’ and ‘dialectic’, which make you sound important and have no meaning.
Of course, none of this applies when confronted with a David Gerstein wall sculpture. Because all you really want to do is laugh. And then applaud.
David Gerstein is back at the Catto and the good news is that all the colour, the joy, the sheer vivacity has come back with him. This is a unique artist, whose work has been exhibited all over the world – from New York to Rio, from Paris to Vegas. Indeed, he’s become so celebrated and loved in his home country of Israel that he’s been commissioned to create nearly 50 public art works.
This success is reward not just for David's visually arresting style, but also for being a true artist and always choosing his muse over prevailing fashions. David lived in New York through the experimental 70s and saw first hand the rise of conceptual art. But he chose to reject the new orthodoxy, saying he wanted to use painting "as a space for creating objects. Remaining in the realm of concept has never meant art for me personally.”
On moving to Israel, David saw his desire to paint bear fruit and his dark brooding style became very successful. But still the need to experiment tugged at the artist. He kept coming back to the pop culture obsessions of his youth – cartoons, billboards, household packaging, children's toys. And after much innovation, David began making wall sculptures fashioned by laser cutting and applied with car paint. With the advent of computing, he was able to translate his drawings into perfectly rendered templates that could be accurately reproduced in the metalworking studio.
The delirious results have fans all over the world, including celebrity collectors such as Lance Armstrong. They’re drawn to the work for the same reasons as anyone else – humour, energy, beauty, joy. And there’s plenty of all that in this new collection.
Here again are the shoes, the cyclists, the cows, the runners. And the butterflies are back too, of course, taking the place of flowers in the still life 'Symbiosis', replacing collagen to make 'Burning Lips' and buzzing helplessly round a lugubrious looking light bulb in 'Attraction'.
But the most eye-catching butterfly piece for me is Momento Mori, David’s hilarious homage to all those scary renaissance still lives cautioning ‘remember, you will die’.
It’s not remotely frightening and the skull can only be described as funky.