Museums and galleries tend to abide by the “no touch” rule to safeguard the artworks they display. But Israeli contemporary artist David Gerstein encourages a hands-on approach, firmly believing that his creations are for the public and not for private collectors or curators.
“My philosophy is that art should touch life. It shouldn’t be something that you see once a year when you go to a museum,” Gerstein tells ISRAEL21c at his studio in the Bet Shemesh Industrial Zone.
There’s a pop-art feel to the everyday items he depicts in his multilayered wall sculptures, outdoor sculptures, paintings, prints, drawings and designed objects.
“It’s my personal pop art. I’m not following Andy Warhol but I’m using the same feeling about the colors, about the popular images,” he explains. “It’s about speaking with the audience at eye level. My work is not a riddle. Many times I go to museums and see artworks that are vague. I want people to understand what I mean.”
The subject matter for his paintings and sculptures all comes from scenes in his past. “My memory of my mother riding a bike became the Tour de France wall sculpture,” he explains. “I’m not just inventing images. They’re all based on my memories.”
Gerstein has succeeded in bringing his universal language of playfulness, humor and optimism to the public-at-large in many countries.
His most famous work, an 18.35-meter-high painted steel outdoor sculpture called “Momentum,” is installed in Singapore’s central business district. “It became an icon,” he says.
“My best works are outdoors because it’s in the public domain. I like people to experience it when they’re walking, driving, being part of the public. That gives me the most pleasure,” he says. “It talks with the environment, with the surrounding architecture. It’s my great experience, doing public works.”
Which of his works is his favorite? “My most favorite is the one I’m going to do,” Gerstein replies.“My mind is always thinking about the next creation.”
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