Horse Power

1999
Steel plinth, Bronze
400 x 600 x 135 cm
Edition of 5

The form of the horse is taken from an eighteenth or nineteenth-century volume of anatomical illustrations, but is shown, ironically, as a monument to power and glory. The form of the horse, being made as flat fretwork is a shadow rather that a full three-dimensional body, emphasising Ben-David's concept of the ultimate immaterial nature of grandeur. Ben-David’s work explores the symbiotic relationship between humans and nature. His points of inspiration range from eighteenth century botanical illustrations, to the cave paintings and oral traditions of his native Yemini culture. In this series he 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, mirages of burnished steel that challenge the viewer to reconsider their ways of looking. Noting how every child wants to learn to fly, Ben-David incorporates human figures into his utopian visions of nature, sometimes as the bodies of a butterfly, or in leaf-like shapes that combine to create an arboreal vision of man in harmony with the natural world.

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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.

Zadok Ben-David

Born: 1949

Other Artworks by Zadok Ben-David at CASS

2010

Exotic Tree

Set within a wooded glade Exotic Tree creates an illusory sense of the fantastical or mysterious. Tiny, silhouetted figu…

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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