• By: OLM Staff

Prolific David Gerstein: Simply an Artist

A graduate of Jerusalem’s Bezalel School of Art, David Gerstein traveled to international art capitals before returning to his hometown and accepting a position as Senior Lecturer at his alma mater, a job he held for 14 years.

At the end of the 1960s, the American art scene was ruled by the conceptual art movement, which insisted that the idea behind a piece was the most important aspect of a work of art, more so than the final product.

At Bezalel,Gerstein had to confront this idea of conceptual art which differed fromhisownviewofart.Abitofa traditionalist, Gerstein believes that in the end, art is a concrete object. It was then that he made the crucial decision not to embrace his era’s prevailing trends. Instead, he forged his own path as a young artist.

Gerstein concedes that the choice was a difficult one to make. However, by refusing to compromise his artistic integrity, he was able to establish his own niche. Known primarily as a sculptor, Gerstein is also renowned as a painter, draughtsman and craftsman.

In 1987, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem presented a solo exhibition of his work. It was a turning point. Israelis and foreigners alike appreciated the striking colours in his artwork as well as the personal stories that motivated his pieces. “My belief is that only personal narrative can break the walls between people,” explains Gerstein. “No matter if it’s about my twin brother or my parents at the Dead Sea or my girlfriend riding a bicycle. My personal motives found a way to the hearts of many people.”

Given his success over the past four decades, Gerstein can now afford to take a more ambitious approach to his artwork.“I can dare to do big outdoor projects that require a lot of energy and risks,” he says. “I gain enormous pleasure from corresponding with architecture or being part of the environment and the streets of a big city.” While money has never served as motivation for his creativity, Gerstein admits that there is “no doubt it helps to accelerate the creation of new ideas that years ago would have taken a long time to be realized.”

One such project is Momentum, a painted metal sculpture that sits at the heart of Singapore’s Business District. Created in 2008, it is over 18 metres in height, and is composed of 175 multi-coloured silhouettes joined together to form a spiral, depicting an upward cycle of progress. Each of the structure’s ten levels was revealed separately, culminating on New Year’s Eve of 2008, when the lone figure that sits at the top was unveiled.

Gerstein’s devotion to his audience has fuelled many projects.“Communication with people I would never know or with future generations to come is of great importance to me. I see myself making peoples’ lives more pleasant. Art eases the pressure of life and teaches us to become better human beings.”

For more information on artist David Gerstein visit, www.davidgerstein.com