Exotic Tree

2010
Corten steel
340 x 295 x 40 cm
Edition of 1

Set within a wooded glade Exotic Tree creates an illusory sense of the fantastical or mysterious. Tiny, silhouetted figures are just visible within the boughs of the three-metre tall steel form. Part of the artist’s series of Innerscape sculptures, which play upon the idea of worlds existing within a larger subject matter, the work addresses imagination, the realm of dreams and the relationship between man and nature. The use of corten steel is an example of Ben-David’s habitual employment of materials that visibly weather. Inspired by the natural world, the sculpture responds to its surroundings, changing colour with time. In the artist’s vision, the natural world becomes a metaphor for human nature, the tree a symbol of our escapist childlike desires and how they are perhaps incompatible, yet eternally enchanting within our realities.

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About The Artist

Ben-David was brought up in Israel after his family emigrated from Yemen, he then moved to the UK to study and live. Much of his work is testament to his exposure to the cultural symbols and aesthetics of the two varying societies. Alongside inspiration from the stories and ancient art of Israel, he has used Victorian botanical encyclopaedias to craft thousands of miniscule steel cut plants and flowers in a powerful statement about the fragility of life.

When Ben-David moved to London to study, he was faced with a new visual language, as British abstraction and conceptual art of the 1970's were very different from contemporary visual art in Israel. The evolution of mankind and its symbiosis with nature is often explored throughout Ben-David’s work. Ben-David's work often references his Yemeni heritage and its oral traditions, symbolism, illusions and cave paintings. In addition, his work also pays attention to and is inspired by alternative influences such as scientific documentation, hand coloured stipple engravings, botanical illustrations from the 18th and 19th century to the cave paintings and oral traditions of his native Yemini culture. He often uses thin sheets of steel – either hand-painted or left bare to weather organically. These are­­ precisely cut by laser or hand into large-scale forms. The results are beautifully intricate shapes that appear like shadows or stencils on the landscape that challenge the viewer to reconsider their ways of looking.

‘Exotic Tree’ is currently on display

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Visiting Information

Zadok Ben-David

Born: 1949

Other Artworks by Zadok Ben-David at CASS

1999

Horse Power

The form of the horse is taken from an eighteenth or nineteenth-century volume of anatomical illustrations, but is shown…

2005

Looking Back

Looking Back depicts a female figure walking and turning, as her attention is momentarily caught by a smaller figure beh…

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