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That toy story

That toy story
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After making a huge splash at India Art Fair earlier this year with his 3-D sculptural installations in metal, Israeli artiste David Gerstein is all set to exhibit a body of new works in his first solo show in India. Titled Poetic Mirror, the show is being brought to India by Bruno Art Group and is curated by 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.

Though Gerstein has already tasted success in the Indian market with many of his works being sold to Indian collectors post India Art Fair, this is the first time he will be visiting the country. Says the artist who is considered the pioneer of 3-D metal art: 'Unfortunately, I have never been to India before but for many years, 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. I'm sure India will look familiar to me from the very beginning. Some of my works involve a lot of details and are rich in colours which in recent years have disappeared from the art world trends.'

Yet, Gerstein admits he looks forward to watching the way 'life is being performed on Indian streets, to smell the food and to see the wonderful craft that is being done everywhere. India and Israel share the same landscape and vegetation since the weather is closed but I am more interested in urban scenes than just landscape views,' he says.

'My art has always traversed its own path apart from trendy movements and I have stayed away from the ‘isms’, 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 make people aware that there are great values we have as people and not just violence and disasters. After many years of creating narrative and figurative images, I wanted to extend the borders of painting and to give a new sculptural dimension to the so far illusionist look of the flat paintings. By slicing the view to multi layers, I achieved certain volume that was lacking in all the paintings that were done before.'

Among the works that will be on display during the show is 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 represents a multicoloured crowd of people walking along lines that form the infinity symbol. Gerstein’s works convey a sense of wonder and amusement at this fervour-ridden reality that is ours, and can be interpreted as a metaphor of life as a mad race. The Burning Lips pass 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.'

WHERE: Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre
WHEN: 6 to 15 May, 10 am to 8 pm
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